Richard Plumb will be Saint Mary's College of California's 30th president, beginning his term in July of this year.
By Victoria Vidales
On Tuesday January 12th Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees, and the Christian Brothers announced that Richard Plumb had been named the 30th president of Saint Mary’s College of California. Effective on July 1, 2021, Plumb has been selected following the upcoming retirement of President James Donahue. Following a thorough presidential search process, Plumb will be the newest member of the Saint Mary’s community, welcomed by both administration, and students.
In April of last year, President Donahue announced that he would be retiring in June of 2021, following eight years of leadership at Saint Mary’s College. At the time of his announcement, Donahue spoke fondly of his opportunity as president, writing in a letter to faculty, and students that to “lead an institution of such superb academic quality, one grounded in a deeply realized Lasallian Catholic mission guided by the Christian Brothers, one dedicated to the bonds of relationship among all members of the College community—this has been the most gratifying experience of my professional life.”
After months of work from the Presidential Search Committee, made up of board members, administrators, faculty, and staff members, Plumb was selected because of his experience, ideas, and leadership qualities. In a statement sent by David R. Ford on behalf of Board Chair Kevin Nagle, and Brother Donald Johanson, FSC, Plumb has been described as having the “experience, leadership skills, and personal talents to lead [Saint Mary’s] College to even greater levels of distinction and achievement of its Lasallian mission in the decade ahead.”
Plumb is a graduate of Syracuse University, earning a BS, MS, and PHD. Beginning a teaching career at the University of Kansas, Plumb transitioned into academic leadership roles, serving at Binghamton University, and Loyola Marymount University. His most recent role was at the University of St. Thomas, a position he has held since 2014.
The Presidential Search Committee, writes that Plumb has been chosen for this leadership position because he has shown “broad experience in strategic planning, curriculum development, financial management, fundraising, capital planning, and other critical skills necessary to leverage Saint Mary’s College’s distinguished history and write the next chapter for this remarkable institution.” As a first-generation college graduate himself, Plumb has created, and led programs that reach out to first-generation college students at other universities he has worked for, and hopes to do so at Saint Mary’s.
As a new president during a unique time in history, Plumb will have challenges his predecessors have never faced. However, the Presidential Search Committee is confident that Plumb is capable of any challenge thrown his way, and will lead the Saint Mary’s community further into the future with determination, and innovation.
Victoria Vidales '21,