President's Message: Serving Western has been a life-changing opportunity. Thank you.

Last June I announced my intention to retire from Western’s presidency, and this April, after an intensive, inclusive and transparent national search, the Board of Trustees announced the selection of Oregon State University Provost Sabah Randhawa as Western’s next president. For Cyndie and me, this marks the end of a life-changing opportunity to serve Western for which we are deeply grateful. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to the Trustees and to the greater Western Washington University community for selecting such a fine leader, and of course to Sabah, who is so fortunate to lead Western into the future.

As someone who has studied leadership transitions extensively, I believe their success lies not in first trying to identify the personal qualities of the “right” person, but rather in getting clear on the core values of the institution and the vision for where it needs to go in the future. Western’s search process did just that, starting with the appointment of a broadly representative Presidential Search Advisory Committee, including an extensive listening process both on and off-campus to identify those priorities, and then developing a leadership profile hailed by our consultant as one of the best documents of its kind she had ever seen. Although the work of the Search Committee and the Trustees was monumental — and deeply appreciated — their task was made straightforward by the groundwork already laid. Standing out from an exceptional field of many outstanding candidates, Sabah Randhawa’s record of past accomplishments demonstrated a deep commitment to Western’s core values, and the ability to listen and lead Western to fulfill them ever more in the years ahead. 

Like you, I am excited to see how Western will build on its strengths, and have every confidence that Sabah Randhawa will be a great next president to help us do just that. I am equally confident that Western’s future is bright because our extraordinary, dedicated and caring community, on and off campus, has been at the forefront of our past successes. Cyndie and I know that Sabah and his wife Uzma Ahmad will enjoy, just as we have, the honor of serving Western in the years ahead. Thank you for entrusting us with that responsibility, and for sharing the journey with us these past eight years.