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Presidential Transition

After a nationwide search, University of the Pacific announced its 26th president will be Christopher Callahan, dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. In addition to being the founding and current dean of the Cronkite School, Chris is vice provost of ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus and CEO of Arizona PBS. Chris was the unanimous selection of the Board of Regents and will take office on July 1, 2020. Read the full announcement.


Search Committee


The Board of Regents has determined the composition of the search committee to include 17 members as follows:

  • Two students, one undergraduate and one from either a graduate or professional school, appointed by the Associated Students of University of the Pacific.
  • Two staff members, of which one represents the San Francisco or Sacramento campus, appointed by the Staff Advisory Council.
  • Four faculty members, one member from each of the campuses, at least one representing an undergraduate school or the College, and at least one representing non-tenured/non-tenure track faculty, appointed by the Academic Council.
  • Two deans, one representing undergraduates and one representing a graduate or professional school, appointed by the Council of Deans.
  • One alumnus/a appointed by the Pacific Alumni Association Board of Directors.
  • Six regents, including the committee chair, appointed by the Board of Regents.


Members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC) were selected by their respective shared governance or advisory groups based on the Board of Regents’ determination of the search committee composition. Members include:

  • Two Students: Ashley Silva-Guzman, McGeorge School of Law; Cassidy Johnson ’21, COP and SOECS
  • Two Staff: Elena Dueñas, Graduate Student Support Specialist, Sacramento; Shani Richards, Assistant Director, Learning and Development
  • Four Faculty: Rex Hamilton, Professor of General Education and Religious Studies; Scott Jensen, Professor, Chair of Psychology; Cindy Lyon ’86, ’09, Professor of Diagnostic Sciences, Dugoni School of Dentistry and Associate Dean for Oral Health Education; Rachael Salcido, Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law, Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship and Diversity Initiatives
  • One Alumna: Janice Magdich ’79, ’96, City Attorney, City of Lodi
  • Two Deans: Rena Fraden, Dean, College of the Pacific; Nader Nadershahi, Dean, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
  • Six Regents: Norman Allen ’88, ’94 (committee chair); Paul Dassenko ’82; Mary-Elizabeth Eberhardt ’76, ’80; Corwin Harper; Andrea Lynn Hoch ’84; Gary Mitchell
  • Committee Liaison: Janine Baca Swanson, Secretary to the Board of Regents

Presidential Search Process

Following a discussion at its April meeting with Alberto Pimentel, the consultant managing the presidential search, and after serious consideration by the ad hoc search planning committee and the board’s executive committee, the Board of Regents determined it is best to conduct a fully confidential search process to produce the broadest and most talented group of candidates. This means the committee and the board will not share names of candidates with the university community to ensure confidentiality for the candidates and encourage their participation in our search. We acknowledge that some of Pacific’s recent searches included holding community forums with finalists, but in today’s highly competitive presidential search market, most private and many public universities have moved to closed/confidential searches. We have a broadly representative search committee that will work to ensure many voices are considered in the process.

Search Timeline

  • Mid-May: PSAC's first meeting
  • Late May/Early June: Position profile complete; advertisement(s) placed
  • Early September: PSAC reviews candidate profiles
  • Late September/Early October: PSAC selects semi-finalists
  • October: Board of Regents interviews finalists and selects candidate
  • December: Board of Regents announces Pacific's next president
  • July 1, 2020: New president starts