Dr. Jon Calvert Strauss appointed as 11th president of Paul Smith’s College

Jul 14, 2020 | News

Mark Dzwonczyk, Chair of the Paul Smith’s College Board of Trustees, has announced that Dr. Jon Calvert Strauss will become the eleventh president of the college on July 15, 2020. Strauss will serve in an interim capacity to provide executive leadership and advance the college’s strategic plan while the institution embarks on a comprehensive search process to replace outgoing president Dr. Cathy S. Dove. The appointment of Dr. Strauss was approved unanimously by the Board.

“I am delighted to welcome Jon to the Paul Smith’s community,” said Dzwonczyk. “His track record, depth of experience, and enthusiasm for the college make him an ideal leader to build on the terrific foundation built by Cathy along with our talented faculty and staff during her tenure. At a time when all colleges are facing uncertainty due to COVID-19, Jon’s experience at a number of institutions in challenging situations has provided him with expertise in areas such as communications, finance, management, fundraising, technology, and organizational culture to lead Paul Smith’s forward with creativity and a steady hand.”

In addition to serving as president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Harvey Mudd College, and Manhattanville College, Strauss served as Vice President at the University of Pennsylvania, and Senior Vice President at the University of Southern California. His long career includes membership on the National Science Board, where he was Chair of Polar Research; CFO of HHMI, then the nation’s largest private philanthropy; and work on the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. He and his wife Jean are avid rowers and hikers and are impressed with the PSC community’s commitment to education, the environment, sports – and one another.

“I am thrilled to have been selected for this role,” said Strauss. “Paul Smith’s College is a remarkable institution that delivers truly meaningful career-focused education to the students that it serves, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Thanks to the innovation and dedication of PSC’s faculty and staff, exciting growth initiatives to shape the college’s future are already bearing fruit. It’s my honor to be part of such an important mission.”

Outgoing President Dove, who joined Paul Smith’s in September 2014, announced her retirement in March 2020. Highlights of her tenure include the introduction of a master’s degree program, expanded undergraduate offerings, and the expansion of athletics including esports, women’s ice hockey and the rollout of a world-class program for student athletes with ties to US Biathlon and USA Nordic. She also oversaw college affordability efforts highlighted by tuition scholarship programs with North Country Community College and SUNY Adirondack, as well as a “graduation guarantee” initiative for future Paul Smith’s enrollees. Dove is the first woman to have held the office of president at PSC. She will be available during the transition as an advisor to President Strauss.

“I am so grateful to have served Paul Smith’s for the past six years,” said Dove. “It’s been a privilege to work alongside the college’s extraordinary faculty and staff, to have met so many great students, and to have served the broader north country community. I’m excited for the future of PSC and will always consider myself a Smitty.”

Strauss joins PSC as the college approaches a mid-August start for the Fall 2020 semester. Dzwonczyk stated, “we were fortunate to secure someone with Jon’s impressive qualifications sooner rather than later. Given the recently-announced early start to the academic year, president Dove, Dr. Strauss and the board thought it was important to appoint Dr. Strauss as soon as possible to provide a smooth transition.”

Strauss holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering (University of Wisconsin), M.S. in Physics (University of Pittsburgh), and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (Carnegie Institute of Technology). Jon, his wife Jean, a noted author and filmmaker and former national champion double-sculler, and their dog Bear will relocate from East Brookfield, MA. They are excited to make Paul Smith’s their home for the coming year and look forward to engaging with the entire PSC community.

About Paul Smith’s College

At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. We are the only four-year institution offering broad-based higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields such as natural sciences, sustainability, forestry, business, hospitality, recreation, and culinary arts – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information, visit paulsmiths.edu.



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