Office of the President

Lewis & Clark President Wim Wiewel. Lewis & Clark President Wim Wiewel.

 

On Palatine Hill

May 10, 2021

Dear Lewis & Clark Community,

I write today to let you know that next academic year will be my last as president of Lewis & Clark. Serving in this role has been a great privilege and joy–most days at least!–but I turn 72 next year, and it is time to step back after 43 years employed in higher education. I feel confident in doing so because the institution is well positioned for future success.

This is a good time for Lewis & Clark to make a change, as we have clearly turned a corner. The nation and our community have made it through the worst of the pandemic, and we can look forward to a return to normal. The Executive Council is experienced and adept at the daily management of the institution, and our current strength will be attractive to a dynamic new leader.

Our strategic plan has set us on a solid course for fiscal stability. Enrollment in all three of our schools is healthy and growing again. And our comprehensive fundraising campaign, in its initial quiet phase, has succeeded beyond expectations. With its public launch next month, on June 17, I feel confident that by the time I leave we will be within sight of the finish line.

Collectively, we have much to celebrate. In the past four years, we have continued to provide an excellent education to our students, conducted important research, and provided much needed services to individuals and organizations in Portland and beyond. And we have put in place what it will take to thrive going forward:

  • Completed “Exploring for the Global Good,” the first institutional strategic plan with clear metrics for success in decades, which can continue to guide us.
  • Started the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in 20 years.
  • Raised close to $100 million for scholarships, faculty, facilities, and programs.
  • Developed an equity and inclusion strategic plan and made progress on key initiatives, such as the Posse Program, to ensure the campus becomes ever more welcoming and safe and increasingly reflects the diversity of the nation.
  • Initiated exciting new programs in entrepreneurship, health studies, and pathways with the Law School and the Graduate School of Education and Counseling and others. These initiatives have contributed this year to the largest number of first-year deposits ever in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Completed the first Campus Master Plan in 10 years, which will allow us to grow as needed, as well as plans for transportation, student housing, and student engagement.
  • Refinanced institutional debt to save money and fund future capital projects, including the much-needed renovation of Templeton Student Center and student housing, both of which will get underway this coming year.
  • Managed through the COVID-19 crisis, as well as recent wildfire smoke and ice storm emergencies.

Throughout my time at Lewis & Clark, I have been fortunate to have the guidance and support of an amazing Board of Trustees, chaired by Stephanie Fowler, and to work with a great team of leaders on our Executive Council. Success would not have been possible without the hard work of all faculty and staff, and the involvement of our students.

I want to give a special thanks to all our alumni and friends who continue to support the college with your time, talent, and treasure. And most of all, I thank Alice for sharing this adventure with me, and for her good counsel, support, and grace.

This coming year I will focus particularly on fundraising. After my last day as president on July 1, 2022, I will remain involved in those efforts as needed.

These have not always been easy years, and Lewis & Clark still has much hard work ahead. But I feel confident that all the elements are in place for a vibrant long-term future.

I thank you all, and I look forward to a very successful last year as we work together to achieve our goals.

Sincerely,

Wim Wiewel
President

A video version of this message.

Biography

Wim Wiewel is Lewis & Clark’s 25th president. He took the helm in October 2017 after nine years leading Portland State University, and was inaugurated in October 2018. Since then Wiewel has completed a strategic planning process resulting in “Exploring for the Global Good,” which reaffirms Lewis & Clark’s role as a leading liberal arts college with outstanding professional schools; completed a facilities master plan; initiated a comprehensive campaign that has set new records in fundraising for Lewis & Clark; and launched a strategic enrollment management plan for the undergraduate college.

A recipient of a classic liberal arts education as a high school student in his native Amsterdam, Wiewel learned early on the value of a broad-based education rooted in critical thinking and analysis. The first in his family to go to college, he holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University.

Wiewel is a proponent of strong civic engagement, which benefits both the college and the community it calls home. At Lewis & Clark, he has drawn from the community beyond campus to create advisory boards for entrepreneurship, sustainability, global engagement, and the Graduate School of Education and Counseling. He has served on a number of prominent educational, business, and cultural organizations, including Second Nature, AFS-USA, All Hands Raised, Regional Solutions, Portland Business Alliance, and the World Affairs Council of Oregon.

A vocal advocate of teaching and practicing sustainability, Wiewel works closely with civic, business, and academic leaders to drive collaboration. Wiewel received the 2012 inaugural Presidential Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools and was given a Climate Leadership Award from national nonprofit Second Nature in 2013 for demonstrating innovative and advanced leadership in education related to sustainability and climate mitigation and adaptation.

A sociologist with a passion for strong cities, Wiewel has authored or edited nine books and more than 65 articles and chapters that have appeared in such publications as Economic Geography,Economic Development Quarterly, Urban and Metropolitan Universities, and the Journal of the American Planning Association. His most recent books are Global Universities and Urban Development and Suburban Sprawl.

Wim is married to the architect Alice Wiewel and together they have four children. Admirers of Portland’s eclectic cultural offerings and of Oregon’s amazing natural beauty, Wim and Alice take time to hike, camp, and explore the mountains, coasts, and deserts. They also attend lots of performances and games in town, and frequent community receptions and dinners.

Publications

Chronicle Magazine

Global Vision, Local Engagement, Fall 2017

Coverage

EXPERT VIEW: Some pillars of wisdom for colleges and their surrounding communities, The Business Journals, February 25, 2021

The Campus as a City, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 14, 2019

Colleges Commit to Carbon Neutrality. Getting There is Hard, ClimateWire, October 3, 2019

Saving the Planet Hasn’t Persuaded Colleges to Divest From Fossil Fuels. Will Saving Money Do the Trick?, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 30, 2019

Long-form interview with Wim Wiewel, Portland Business Journal, February 20, 2019

Degree of Uncertainty, Portland Business Journal, February 22, 2018

Lewis & Clark President on Why His ‘Retirement’ From PSU Didn’t Last Long, Portland Business Journal, November 9, 2017

Op-eds

The Case for Liberal Arts Education in a Time of Crisis, The New Republic, May 27, 2020

Call It a Climate Emergency, Portland Business Journal, December 24, 2019

Wim Wiewel Calls on Higher Ed to Lead Battle Against Climate Change, Portland Business Journal, February 22, 2019

The Value of International Students, Oregonian, November 26, 2017

Essays and chapters

Sustaining Liberal Arts Colleges Through Community Partnerships and the Co-Production of Knowledge, Metropolitan Universities, December 2019, by Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell and Wim Wiewel

Your City (or Town) is More Than a Place to Call Home, President2President, October 2019