The University of the Pacific announced on Thursday that Chris Callahan has been named the school’s next president.
Callahan comes to Pacific from Arizona State, where he was the dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“Chris has an exciting balance of academic experience and entrepreneurial skill,” said Norman Allen, vice-chair of the Pacific Board of Regents. “He has a deep appreciation for the liberal arts and the breadth of our academic programs as well as the vision to make a Pacific education available to more students in more ways.”
As dean of Arizona State’s School of Journalism, Callahan established new degree programs — for the undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. levels — built on research partnerships with major corporations and national nonprofits, raising more than $100 million for the school.
Callahan also served as the vice provost for Arizona State’s downtown Phoenix campus, helping foster the growth of the 13-year-old campus, which now has nearly 13,000 students across seven colleges.
He also served as served as both the CEO of Arizona PBS — one of the nation’s largest public television stations, with a focus on public service and lifelong learning — and various leadership positions at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
At the early start of his career, Callahan served as a correspondent for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
“Chris was the unanimous selection of the board,” Pacific Board of Regents Chair Kevin Huber said. “He brings an energy and experience that match Pacific’s needs perfectly.”
According to Huber, Callahan’s experience developing programs, relevant to students, will help unify all three of Pacific’s campuses.
The university recently expanded the programs offered at its Sacramento campus, which recently launched its new School of Health Sciences.
As the university grows its programs, Allen believes Callahan can ease the university through the transition.
“Chris is exactly what Pacific needs right now,” Allen said.
Callahan will take over for Maria Pallavicini, who has served as the school’s interim president since Pamela Eiback’s retirement in July. Eiback was at the helm for 10 years.
“I am honored and humbled to join the talented students and dedicated faculty of the University of the Pacific,” Callahan said. “Pacific is an outstanding national university with an extraordinarily rich history spanning 168 years — and an even greater future.”
Callahan visited the Pacific campus Thursday and will conduct listening tours in December at Pacific’s Sacramento, San Francisco, and Stockton campuses.
Callahan takes office on July 1, 2020, and will serve as the 26th president of the university. He will be joined by his wife, Jean, a human resources executive. The couple will reside in the President’s Residence on the Stockton Campus.
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