University of the Pacific announced on Thursday that President Pamela Eibeck will be retiring at the end of the spring semester, leaving behind a mixed legacy after 10 years at the helm of the Stockton school.
In an e-mail sent to students and faculty, Eibeck expressed her gratitude and appreciation for being able to “serve as Pacific’s president for the past decade,” and stated that it was the highlight of her career.
Those close to Eibeck were not surprised by the announcement. Kevin Huber, who is the chair of Pacific's Board of Regents, said it has been known for a year that Eibeck had plans to retire.
“Last spring President Eibeck told me she was ready to retire, and since then we have been discussing when her last day should be,” Huber said.
Eibeck’s last day will be July 1 and current Pacific provost and executive vice president Maria Pallavicini will serve as the interim president until a replacement is found.
“She is someone who has a focus on student-centered education, someone who believes in the mission of the university,” Huber said of Pallavicini.
“I am honored to serve the university as interim president to ensure there is continued implementation for the board’s strategic initiatives,” Pallavicini said. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside the president in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.”
The university will hire a firm to conduct a nationwide search for Eibeck’s replacement.
“Our goal is to have a new president named by July 2020,” Huber said.
Eibeck was selected as Pacific’s 24th president in 2009. During her tenure, she spearheaded the development of a long-term vision for the university (Pacific 2020) and its 2017 update (Pacific 2020R), integration of the university’s three campuses (Sacramento, San Francisco and Stockton) to operate as one university, 60 percent growth in graduate student enrollment, and nearly tripling of the endowment to over $450 million.
More recently, Eibeck has overseen the Board of Regents’ plan to reallocate university spending toward more competitive compensation for Pacific employees. She also worked with Pacific’s community partners to launch the Beyond Our Gates initiative to improve early literacy in Stockton, for which she was recognized with an ATHENA Leadership Award in 2015.
Under her leadership, Pacific’s donors established nearly $50 million in new endowed scholarships and $21 million in new academic program support. They also contributed to facilities projects, including the purchase and renovation of a new San Francisco campus in the heart of the South of Market district.
“On behalf of the Board of Regents, I extend my sincere appreciation to President Eibeck for her many years of service to the university,” Huber said. “President Eibeck not only cherished and celebrated Pacific’s rich legacy, but she was always willing to take on the challenging tasks needed to make Pacific better and sustain our great university well into the future. The Board of Regents is deeply grateful to the president and her husband Bill for their dedication and service to Pacific.”
Eibeck’s retirement follows a couple of tumultuous years for the university that have witnessed massive budget overruns in the athletics department, controversial tuition hikes, allegations of sexual misconduct on the campus and a strained relationship with the faculty. Eibeck’s salary, reportedly around $580,000 annually, also became a point of contention with students and faculty during the school’s latest tuition hike last year.
Last November, more than 90 percent of faculty members gave a vote of no confidence in the university president.
Another source of frustration for faculty was stagnant salaries. Since 2016 the university has worked to incorporate salary differentials that would provide all faculty and staff on the campus with competitive salaries. The increased salaries would stagger over nine months beginning this January until September, according to Deidra Powell, senior director of media relations at the university.
A nine-page letter obtained by News-Sentinel staff outlined faculty concerns such as ineffective leadership, financial mismanagement and a lack of fiscal transparency.
Huber responded to concerns about the school’s financial outlook by stating the university has solid financial footing and is doing better than it has in years.
“We are extremely proud of her accomplishments as president of the university. She has nearly tripled the endowment to over $450 million,” Huber said.