President, Gonzaga University
In July 2010, Dr. Thayne M. McCulloh was elected Gonzaga’s 26th president by the Board of Trustees. He became the University’s first lay president, but one firmly ensconced in the Jesuit tradition. He is a product of Jesuit education, and has been a champion of Jesuit ideals and mission throughout his time at Gonzaga.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, Dr. McCulloh attended Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School. Following high school, he completed a three-year enlistment as a food service sergeant in the US Army. He arrived at Gonzaga University in its centennial year (1986-87), served as a resident assistant and resident director, was president of Alpha Sigma Nu (the Jesuit honor society), and was elected student body president in his senior year.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, magna cum laude, and proudly shares with Harry H. Sladich, the only other non-Jesuit to serve as interim president (1991, 1997-98) the distinction of receiving Gonzaga’s Lindberg Loyalty Award. In 1989, he was accepted to study for the Master of Science degree in experimental psychology at Oxford University. He was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) in experimental social psychology from Oxford in 1998, and his thesis examined the impact of sex role stereotypes on social situations.
Dr. McCulloh’s employment at Gonzaga began in 1990 and involved serving in several positions within student affairs, as well as teaching in the psychology department (beginning in 1994). From 1990-92, he coordinated the work of the residence hall staff and, following a one-year leave of absence, returned in 1993 as director of housing. In 1995, he was appointed assistant dean of students, and was instrumental in the founding of disability support services. In 1996, he was appointed dean of student academic services; in 1998 he was appointed dean of student financial services. In each role, he was involved in the redesign of the institution’s enrollment management infrastructure, examination of student retention, and development of a new approach to financial aid policy. In 2002, he was appointed associate academic vice president and also successfully chaired the comprehensive institutional accreditation (2004). In 2004, he was appointed vice president for administration and planning, which involved work with the plant and construction services, human resources, disability resources, student financial services, and information technology divisions. As VP for administration, he chaired the development of the institutional strategic plan and provided oversight for the architecture of the campus wireless network.
Upon the departure of former Academic Vice President Dr. Stephen Freedman in summer 2007, Dr. McCulloh was appointed interim academic vice president. During his tenure in that position, his focus was on working to improve core administrative and resource-allocation processes, initiating a new core curriculum review process, and supporting faculty-based initiatives oriented towards improvement in the teaching and learning environment.