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Dr. Tom Stritikus named as the next president of Fort Lewis College

Dr. Tom Stritikus
Dr. Tom Stritikus

The Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College (FLC) has named Dr. Tom Stritikus as the next president of Fort Lewis College. Dr. Stritikus will take over for current FLC President Dr. Dene Thomas who is retiring this summer.

“I am eager to partner with FLC’s faculty and staff to build upon the institution’s rich history and maximize its potential to serve students and the needs of the Four Corners region,” Dr. Stritikus says. “My family feels fortunate to be joining such an amazing community. We were struck by the integrity and authenticity of everyone we met at FLC and in Durango.”

“The trustees appreciate the efforts of the search committee and the input from all those who participated in the candidate forums leading to the selection of an exceptional new president for Fort Lewis College,” states Steve Short, chair of the FLC Board of Trustees. “Dr. Stritikus dedicated extensive time researching both the College and the Durango area prior to and during his campus visit. His interest in the unique attributes and opportunities Fort Lewis College currently enjoys, in combination with his impressive background experiences, will make it possible for Dr. Stritikus to address, in a timely manner, the challenges facing the College. We are fortunate to be able to draw on his leadership skills.”

“Fort Lewis College has made an inspired choice,” adds Dr. Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, the nation’s coordinating body leading efforts to improve access to education and student success.” “Tom Stritikus is an extraordinary leader, committed to diversity and passionate about promoting student success. He will build a culture of inclusive excellence on campus and connect the College to the community in authentic and engaged partnerships. I can’t think of a better match.”

Dr. Stritikus’ resume tells of a life dedicated to education and creating opportunities for students. He is coming to FLC from his position as deputy director of K-12 Education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he has led funding initiatives in teacher prep, innovation and education.Previous to the Gates Foundation, Dr. Stritikus was dean of the College of Education at the University of Washington (UW), where he also taught. When he left UW in 2014, the College of Education was ranked as the sixth best program in the nation, according to US News & World Report, up from 16thjust four years earlier.

He is a first-generation college graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1993 before joining the Teach for America program and teaching elementary school in Baltimore. In 1997, he entered graduate school at the University of California-Berkeley where he earned a master’s and a Ph.D. in Education in Language, Literacy and Culture.

“Throughout my career, I have championed affordable, accessible and excellent education for all students,” Dr. Stritikus explains. “Fort Lewis College lives these principles, as evidenced by its dedicated faculty and commitment to Native Americans and diverse students. I see tremendous potential for growth and impact in the Four Corners and beyond.”

Dr. Stritikus was one of three finalists considered by the Board of Trustees following an exhaustive search committee process that reviewed 120 candidates. All three finalists visited the campus to meet with students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members. Participants were encouraged to provide feedback through an online survey and a public comment session, and the Board reviewed a summary of the input as part of its deliberations.

“The three strong candidates presented to the Board for consideration were the result of a robust search process that provided a diverse, experienced field for our search committee to consider,” said trustee Richard Kaufman, who chaired the 13-member search committee. “I want to thank each member of our search committee for their time and commitment to this lengthy process. Their strong support of the process – and the candidates submitted to the board for consideration – played a significant role in identifying such compelling candidates.”


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