It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that Executive Vice President and Provost Richard Plumb has accepted a new position as president of Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, effective July 1, 2021. Saint Mary’s is a Catholic college founded by the Christian Brothers, well known for their commitment to education. It enrolls approximately 4,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Richard joined St. Thomas in July 2014 and has been a critical member of our leadership team, helping drive innovation and momentum. One of Richard’s greatest accomplishments has been recognizing from within, and attracting from elsewhere, outstanding talent, and leading this amazing group of veteran and new senior leaders, including our eight academic deans, three vice presidents and our vice provost, in the implementation of our St. Thomas 2020 strategic plan. While Richard would be among the first to say our accomplishments would not be possible without the work of many across the university, he and the Academic, Student Affairs, Undergraduate Enrollment and ITS teams have played significant roles in numerous major initiatives. These include

  • Launching Dougherty Family College, Morrison Family College of Health and the re-imagined School of Education
  • Adopting a new undergraduate core curriculum
  • Completing an academic program review and positioning for our future
  • Launching the Center for Student Achievement, which brought together the strengths of Academic and Student Affairs to improve graduation and retention rates
  • Forming STELAR, which laid the foundation for an unprecedented shift to online teaching and remote working with the outbreak of COVID-19
  • Revamping undergraduate admissions to improve accessibility to St. Thomas through initiatives such as test optional, consideration of merit plus need-based aid and improving record keeping and communication via the adoption of Salesforce
  • Introducing the first Living Learning Communities and 100% co-ed residential halls
  • Creating the Adjunct Faculty Council

Richard also co-chaired the Budget Redesign Committee and currently co-chairs the Scenario Planning Steering Committee. In this capacity, he has played a key role in charting the course for mitigating the financial impact of COVID-19.

On a personal note, I have enjoyed working with Richard and thank him for his significant contributions to St. Thomas. I value his willingness to take on big tasks and ability to break them down into organized and manageable steps. I appreciate his understanding of and deep commitment to our Catholic mission, and his loyalty and unwavering pursuit of educational excellence.

Richard will continue in his current role through the spring semester. I will begin work with the Faculty Affairs Committee, Committee on Faculty Nominations and Elections, and others to appoint a search committee and launch a national search for a successor.

In closing, it is my pleasure to personally congratulate Richard on this well-deserved appointment. I am grateful for the dedication that Richard and his wife, Mary, have given to our university community. They are a great team and will make a strong impact at Saint Mary’s. Please join me in wishing them all the very best in their new adventure.

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