CORVALLIS, Ore. – Sabah Randhawa, provost and executive vice president at Oregon State University, has accepted an appointment as the 14th president of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.
Randhawa has more than 30 years of service at OSU. Since 2005, he has served as the university’s chief academic officer and second-ranking administrator, providing overall leadership for Oregon State’s academic affairs, faculty and student services, information technology, research and graduate programs, international programs, OSU-Cascades, the OSU Extension Service, Ecampus, OSU’s top-ranked online education program, and a new Division of Undergraduate Studies.
Western Washington University has an enrollment of 15,332 students and was rated by U.S. News and World Report as the top public university of its type in the West. WWU has seven academic colleges that offer more than 160 programs of study, and the university has 110,000 graduates.
Randhawa first came to OSU from Pakistan as a graduate student in the 1970s. He later joined the faculty in the College of Engineering, and has served in a range of academic, teaching and administrative roles during his time at Oregon State. His doctoral degree is in industrial engineering. He served as both a department head and associate dean in the OSU College of Engineering before taking on broader roles and larger university responsibilities.
“Oregon State University is dear to my heart,” Randhawa said. “I am proud of the campus community that we have worked hard to become. OSU is a place that is continuously guided by our core values. We are committed to being a great place to work, learn and flourish.
“I look forward to my new role with the Western Washington University community, but I will always be a part of Beaver Nation. I know that Oregon State has a very bright future, and I am so pleased to have been a part of its journey.”
OSU President Edward J. Ray praised Randhawa for his contributions to the university.
“Sabah has been my closest partner in so much of what we’ve been able to accomplish at OSU, and he is a dear friend,” Ray said. “There are only a few leaders who have a global vision and can still see the big picture while taking care of the extraordinary daily challenges that a provost deals with. Sabah blends skill and efficiency with fairness and personal compassion, and he’s left a lasting mark on OSU.
“I am sure that Western Washington University has selected him for some of the very same values – his vision, commitment and personal character - that Oregon State University has greatly benefitted from.”
During Randhawa’s tenure OSU experienced a period of extraordinary growth.
Student enrollment surged, the campus and educational programs expanded, and many new facilities were built, such as the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Hospital, the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families, the Linus Pauling Science Center, and the International Living Learning Center. The OSU-Cascades Campus was developed, and the university’s first comprehensive fund raising initiative, the Campaign for OSU, raised $1.14 billion.
Randhawa said he is proudest of some key accomplishments while serving as OSU’s provost:
- Overall enrollment growth, especially targeted toward high-achieving, underrepresented minorities, international and Ecampus students;
- Significant faculty hiring, and partnering with the OSU Foundation to establish endowed faculty positions;
- Strategic academic innovation, including academic divisions, reorganizations, and business centers;
- Establishing an accredited public health program; and
- Hiring, building and sustaining a talented leadership team of dedicated and gifted people.
Officials at Western Washington have said that Randhawa impressed the trustees with his commitment to diversity and inclusion, shared governance, strengthening the student academic experience and closing the achievement gap. They described him as “a person of character” who can bring a global perspective to higher education, which has been a goal of that university and OSU as well. He was chosen for the WWU presidency from among a pool of 75 applicants.
The current president of WWU, Bruce Shepard, is retiring at the close of the 2015-16 academic year after eight years in that position.
Randhawa will assume his position at Western Washington University in August, 2016, and an internal search for an interim provost will begin soon.