Thomas Poon Named Provost

Message from the President
March 9, 2017

Dear LMU Community:

I am pleased to announce that Thomas Poon, Ph.D., will be our next executive vice president and provost. After considering many factors, including feedback from our community, the search committee, and senior leadership, I am confident Professor Poon is the right person to lead our academic affairs and student affairs divisions, including responsibility for the university’s educational, scholarly, and creative activities, student development, athletics, and enrollment management. Professor Poon will succeed Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Hellige on June 1, 2017.

Professor Poon joins us from Pitzer College, where he served in many senior leadership positions, including interim president, acting president, and senior associate dean of faculty. Professor Poon is currently a professor of chemistry in the W.M. Keck Science Department and holds tenured faculty positions at Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College, and Scripps College, allowing him to interact with students, faculty, staff, and administrators at all three institutions. He has been a visiting scholar and assistant professor at Columbia University and was an assistant professor of chemistry at Randolph-Macon College.

Professor Poon has written numerous peer-reviewed articles, including many with undergraduate co-authors. His collaborative research and analyses on the American sweetgum tree, for example, have been referenced in academic publications and extensively reported by the news media. Professor Poon has contributed chapters and co-authored books on pedagogy and chemistry, and he is currently working on a book titled “Changing Your Narrative to Tell Your First Generation Success Story.” Professor Poon has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation to investigate topics ranging from his S-STEM work in the molecular sciences, the acquisition of an NMR instrument to support teaching and research, and other projects aimed at integrating the sciences into curricula. He pioneered textbook methodologies and created hybrid-learning approaches that have been adopted by other authors and have become prevalent in teaching chemistry.

Professor Poon supported, developed, and led a broad range of academic and social justice initiatives in his 17 years at the Claremont Colleges. Highlights include his work in study abroad, including the establishment of an exchange program in Bhutan; the development of hybrid programs in Vietnam and Brazil; the enhancement of a tropical field station in Costa Rica; and the reopening of a program in Nepal just eight months after two devastating earthquakes. He also expanded mentorship resources for first-year students and provided opportunities for incarcerated men to earn college course credits through a partnership with the California Rehabilitation Center.

Professor Poon earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at UCLA in 1995 and his Bachelor of Science degree at Fairfield University in 1990. He has competed in several triathlons and marathons, including the Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City and Boston marathons. His personal interests include professional and Division I sports, film and cinema, and music. He plays guitar and ukulele, and he has recorded audio books for the visually impaired.

Please join me in thanking our search committee, led by Dean Tina Choe and Associate Professor Elizabeth Drummond, and with the members listed below, for conducting a thoughtful, rigorous, and comprehensive process that yielded an exceptional pool of candidates. I appreciate the campus community’s engagement, which provided me with valuable insights and perspectives during my discernment process.

As we undertake exciting initiatives that will propel our community forward – always in the spirit of magis – to be our most creative, our most compassionate, and our most intellectually rigorous, we will benefit from the experience, sound judgment and leadership of Executive Vice President and Provost Poon.

Please join me in congratulating Tom and welcoming him to the LMU Community.

With sincere appreciation and thanks,

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and Provost Search Committee Members
Tina Choe (Co-Chair and Dean, Seaver College of Science and Engineering)
Elizabeth Drummond (Co-Chair, Associate Professor of History, and President, Faculty Senate)
Alex Martin Chaves (Member, Board of Trustees)
Ernesto Colín (Associate Professor, Specialized Programs in Urban Education, School of Education)
Tom Fleming (Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer)
Patrick Frontiera (Vice President for Information Technology Services)
Abigail Kaun (Associate Dean, School of Film and Television)
Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo (Assistant Professor of Dance, College of Communication and Fine Arts)
Jeanne Ortiz (Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs)
Fred Puza (President of the Staff Senate)
Marc Reeves, S.J. (Associate Director of Campus Ministry and Director of Catholic Studies)
Abbie Robinson-Armstrong (Vice President for Intercultural Affairs)
Andy Rohm (Professor of Marketing and Business Law, College of Business Administration)
Maureen Weatherall (Vice Provost for Enrollment Management)
LaShyra Nolen (ASLMU Representative)
Melissa Iriarte (GSLMU Representative)

Rebecca Chandler (Vice President of Human Resources)