ELMHURST, Ill. - Kenne Bristol, chairman of the Elmhurst College board of trustees, announced March 24 that S. Alan Ray has been unanimously selected by the board to be Elmhurst College;s 13th president.
Ray, 51, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, will take office July 1. The 12th president of the college, Bryant L. Cureton, will retire June 30. He has served as Elmhurst's president since 1994.
Elmhurst College is a four-year, private, liberal-arts college located 16 miles west of downtown Chicago. In recent years, it has been ranked consistently among Chicago's premier comprehensive colleges. Founded in 1871, Elmhurst offers its 3,100 students (in 22 undergraduate academic departments and nine graduate degree programs) purposeful learning for the whole of life.
''On behalf of the trustees and the college community, I express welcome and delight that Dr. Ray will be joining Elmhurst College as president,'' Bristol said.
''Dr. Ray brings a broad background of scholarly pursuits and senior experience in higher education administration, as well as an articulated passion for Elmhurst College. He is an effective communicator, and will provide continued vision for the college. We look forward to introducing him and his family to the community.''
Ray is married to Angela Katsos Ray, a senior fundraiser for higher education and independent schools in the Boston area. They are the parents of 3-year-old Stephen and 6-month-old twins, Charles and Helen.
Ray currently serves as senior vice provost at the University of New Hampshire, having joined the university as vice provost for academic affairs in 2004. In his current role, he is responsible for all undergraduate academic programs and curriculum. Prior to coming to UNH, he worked for eight years in the senior administration of Harvard Law School as the chief academic affairs officer.
A land-grant university with a focus on the liberal arts, UNH enrolled 11,862 undergraduate and 2,387 graduate students in the spring of 2007. It is New Hampshire's flagship institution of public higher education.
''As president, I will bring to Elmhurst College a lifetime of learning and multidisciplinary experience, and a deep commitment to academic excellence,'' Ray said during his open-forum interview at Elmhurst Feb. 13. ''We live in a complex, diverse and multicultural world in which we share a collective responsibility for the common good. Elmhurst College is poised to become a national leader in preparing students to serve, to lead and to succeed in such a complex and demanding world.''
Ray's research and scholarly interests include religion and public life, Native American studies and constitutional law. He is interested in serving as a member of the Elmhurst College faculty in addition to his duties as president.
As a college student, Ray embarked on a career path toward the Roman Catholic priesthood, but later found his callings in law, and later, as an educator. He has taught at Boston College, Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Law School.
Ray earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law; a Ph.D. and A.M. in the study of religion at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; an M.T.S. in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School; and a B.A. in philosophy summa cum laude from St. Thomas Seminary College in Colorado.
A native of Oklahoma, Ray will visit Elmhurst to be introduced to the campus and community during the coming weeks.
For more information, call (630) 617-3033 or visit www.elmhurst.edu.