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A Win-Win for Lewis & Clark

September 08, 2010

  • Ronald K. Ragen
    Ronald K. Ragen

To slightly rephrase an old expression, “Good things come to good colleges.” Lewis & Clark has enjoyed two fortunate developments during the past year.

When former President Tom Hochstettler resigned in May 2009, we were extraordinarily lucky to have Jane Monnig Atkinson willing and able to serve as our interim president while we searched for Tom’s permanent replacement. At the time of her appointment, Jane had been with Lewis & Clark for more than 30 years, was a tenured professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and had previously served as dean of the Social Sciences Division, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, interim dean of the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and acting vice president for Institutional Advancement. She was currently serving as vice president and provost, a post she had held for a decade.

During my 10 years as a member of the Board of Trustees, the last two as chair, I’ve learned that the presidency of an academic institution is an unusually difficult position, largely because a college has numerous diverse constituencies and its operations are extremely complex. In a nutshell, Jane has been an outstanding leader. Lewis & Clark has maintained, and even increased, its momentum in many ways, largely thanks to Jane’s initiatives and (usually) gentle persuasion. We are a stronger college now than a year ago and are well positioned for the next decade.

We all owe Jane an immense amount of gratitude for a job well done. Having someone of Jane’s knowledge, experience, and skills was a huge win for the college. Jane, many, many thanks from all of us at Lewis & Clark.

One win deserves another, and I am happy to report that that is exactly what Lewis & Clark has in its next president, Barry Glassner. For the last five years, Barry has been executive vice provost at the University of Southern California, where he has been a tenured professor of sociology since 1991 and affiliated with the faculty of USC’s Department of American Studies and Ethnicity since 1996. Of the 18 different schools at USC, Barry has served as provost of five of them.

Barry is also a nationally recognized scholar, author, and spokesperson on major social issues. He has authored or coauthored nine books, including The Culture of Fear, which was recognized as a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. His scholarly research has been published in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Psychiatry, and other leading journals in the social sciences. He regularly writes for various national newspapers and appears on major TV and radio networks.

Barry has an outstanding record at USC of leadership, vision, and fund-raising, all of which are essentials for Lewis & Clark during the next few years as it embarks on a major fund-raising campaign and considers a broad range of changes that are likely to become part of the way academic institutions— and liberal arts colleges, in particular—operate and serve students. The next 10 years will be a challenging decade but, under Barry’s leadership, Lewis & Clark fully intends to become one of the few institutions at the very top ranks of liberal arts and professional schools.

On a personal level, I look forward to working with Barry. I have found him to be exceptionally bright, warm, and engaging. I’m confident he will be an inspiring leader and consensus-builder across our three schools.

Barry will join us as Lewis & Clark’s 24th president in late October. We are excited to welcome him, and I know he is pleased to be a part of our community.

My thanks to all of those in the Lewis & Clark family who have been so patient and helpful through the search process, particularly the hard-working Presidential Search Committee, chaired by Trustee Jay Waldron.

It is now time for us all to join our new president in writing the next chapter of Lewis & Clark’s remarkable story.

Ronald K. Ragen

Chair, Board of Trustees

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