Introducing President-Designate Strom C. Thacker

President-Designate Dr. Strom C. Thacker
Photo credit: Matt Milless

Letter to the community from Board of Trustees Chair Donald P. Gould

December 13, 2022

Dear Pitzer Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Pitzer College, I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Strom C. Thacker will become the seventh president of Pitzer College on July 1, 2023. Dr. Thacker succeeds the College’s sixth president, Dr. Melvin L. Oliver, who retired in June 2022 after serving Pitzer for six years. Jill A. Klein, P’15, serves as interim president for the 2022−23 academic year.  

Dr. Thacker comes to Pitzer from Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he served as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Previously, he served at Boston University as Associate Dean of the Faculty, Social Sciences, within the College of Arts and Sciences. He brings to Pitzer a depth of experience—in teaching, scholarship, administration, and leadership—that will serve the College very well in the years to come.

Strom received both his master’s and doctorate degrees in Political Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has focused his academic research on the political economy of development, both globally and in Latin America. He is an award-winning teacher with an array of prestigious appointments at universities around the world, including the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. He is also a widely published scholar and the author of two books through Cambridge University Press.

Notably, Strom is a graduate of Pomona College (B.A. cum laude International Relations, Phi Beta Kappa) and will become the first graduate of The Claremont Colleges to lead Pitzer College. A Sagehen is returning to care for the nest!

Strom personifies the Pitzer ethos. Growing up in Northern California, he was able to attend Pomona College thanks to its generous financial aid, including a Pell Grant. Strom has built on this experience throughout his career, becoming a consistent champion of college equity and access, as well as a leader who speaks very personally to the transformative power of the liberal arts education. 

He comments: “I am tremendously excited to join the Pitzer College community and to partner with its faculty, staff, students, administration, trustees, alumni, and supporters to lead such an accomplished institution to an even brighter future. From my first engagement with the College, its core values and mission have sung to me. Over its six decades, Pitzer has seen higher education come to embrace the College’s vision of interdisciplinary and engaged student learning. The world needs Pitzer now more than ever, and I can’t wait to come ‘home’ to Claremont to help advance this amazing college.”

The Board’s selection follows a robust eight-month search process that brought forth a deep, strong, and diverse pool of candidates. The Board expresses its sincere thanks to trustee Tom Brock ’83 and the entire search committee for their tireless and indispensable efforts, which have enabled us to reach this milestone in the College’s history.

Strom and his wife, Isabelle Thacker, have three grown children (Matthew, CJ, and William) and two elderly dogs (Ella and Opal). Isabelle, as a Supervising Attorney at The Legal Project in Albany, NY, helps clients secure humanitarian immigration relief, with a focus on survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. 

Please join me in welcoming Strom and Isabelle Thacker to Claremont and the worldwide Pitzer College community.


Donald P. Gould
Chair, Pitzer College Board of Trustees

Learn more about Strom C. Thacker:

Greeting from President-Designate Strom Thacker (English)
Greeting from President-Designate Strom Thacker (Español)

News Story
Pitzer College Names Higher Education Leader and Political Scientist Strom C. Thacker as New President