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V3I1: Welcome Seven New Presidents


Join us in welcoming seven new presidents in the Northwest:

F. King Alexander, President of Oregon State University

President Alexander brings 20 years of success as a university president to OSU, where he is continuing the transformative momentum and impact that Oregon State University — Oregon’s largest university — has realized over the past two decades. Prior to his arrival at Oregon State, President Alexander served as president and chancellor of Louisiana State University from July 2013 through December 2019. He also served as president of California State University, Long Beach from January 2006 to June 2013 and president of Murray State University in Kentucky from September 2001 to December 2005.

He holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; a master’s degree in educational studies and comparative education policy from the University of Oxford; and a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he was a member of the men’s basketball team.


Chemene Crawford, President of North Seattle College

For over thirty years, President Crawford has served as a Higher Education professional. Most recently, she served as an Associate Vice Chancellor for the Dallas County Community College District. Previously, Dr. Crawford served as Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management, Vice President of Student Affairs, Vice President of Administrative Operations, Dean of Student Affairs, and Director of Student Financial Services. She also worked for approximately 10 years in the California Community College system.

Her academic accomplishments include a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Human Resources and Organization Development (M.H.R.O.D.) degree in Human Resources and Organization Development, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior, both from the University of San Francisco.


Brian Johnson, President of Warner Pacific University

President Johnson most recently served as vice president at Mercy College and campus administrator for its Manhattan Campus. Dr. Johnson will be the first African American to serve as WPU’s president and was a first-generation college student. Dr. Johnson comes to WPU from a post as Vice President (Senior Campus Administrator) at Mercy College (Manhattan, NY), where he served from 2018 until now. Before that, he was President and CEO of the venerable Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL, from 2014-2017.He also served as Interim Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness and Assistant Provost/Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN.

Dr. Johnson earned his PhD in English in 2003 from the University of South Carolina. He earned his MA in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his BA in English from Johnson C. Smith University. Dr. Johnson received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Mercy College in 2016.


Gary Locke, President of Bellevue College

President Locke previously held the position of interim president of Bellevue College, which is the third largest higher education institution in Washington State serving 30,000 students annually. President Locke served as Governor of Washington State (the first Chinese American to be elected governor in United States history and the first Asian American governor on the mainland) from 1997-2005; U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2009-2011; and U.S. Ambassador to China from 2011-2014. Gary Locke has been a leader in the areas of education, employment, trade, health care, human rights, immigration reform, privacy, and the environment. President Locke began his career in public service in the Washington State House of Representatives, serving from 1983-1994. He was then elected King County Executive, serving from 1994-1997.

President Locke graduated from Seattle’s Franklin High School. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and is a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He attended Yale University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science and received his law degree from Boston University.


David May, President of Eastern Washington University

President May came to EWU in 1999 as a faculty in residence in the Department of Government and International Affairs. Teaching courses in political science, pre-law and criminal justice, May worked his way up to chair of the department and was then named associate dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Social Work (now the College of Social Sciences) in 2010. Beginning in 2017, May served as EWU’s vice provost. He became interim provost in 2019 before being moved into the role permanently in March.

May earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington in 1990. He then went on to receive both a master’s degree and a doctorate in political science from Washington State University.


Robert Valli, President of Sierra Nevada University

President Valli came to SNU Tahoe from Long Island University Post, where he was Vice President and Dean of the College of Management. Before his tenure at LIU, Dr. Valli was with business consultancy programs in the College of Business at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He started at Illinois Business Consulting, the nation’s largest fee-based, student-run consulting firm. IBC conducts 50 projects each year, with companies ranging from Fortune 500s to startups and nonprofits. He then became the director of the Innovation Immersion Program/International Consulting Network.

Dr. Valli received his Ph.D. in Technology Management in 2009 from the Cambridge University Department of Engineering, his SEP from the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1995, and his B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of California Berkeley in 1982.


Keith Whitfield, President of University of Nevada, Las Vegas

President Whitfield most recently served as the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs and a professor of psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit. Prior to his time at Wayne State University, Dr. Whitfield was vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University and held appointments as professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, research professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, and senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. He also was the co-director of the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research.

Dr. Whitfield received a bachelor’s in psychology from the College of Santa Fe and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in life span Developmental Psychology from Texas Tech. University and did post-doctoral work in quantitative genetics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


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