A Message from Purdue President Mung Chiang Announcing PNW Chancellor-Elect
Dear Purdue Northwest community,
I am pleased to share that the Purdue Board of Trustees accepted my recommendation to appoint Dr. Chris Holford as the next chancellor of Purdue University Northwest.
Dr. Holford has served as provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at Purdue Northwest since May 2020. As provost, he has prioritized the quality of the student experience, the importance of developing a highly trained workforce, and the enrichment and economic growth of the regional community. He has emphasized the importance of academic and research quality at PNW, leading to a tripling of sponsored research activity at the institution over the past three years.
A professor of biology, Dr. Holford has served the PNW campuses for more than 20 years, previously as founding dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences since PNW’s formation in 2016. He also was dean of the College of Sciences and chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry at the former Purdue North Central, which is now the Westville, Indiana, branch campus of PNW. He earned a PhD in biology from Illinois State University, a master’s in zoology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Augustana College.
Chancellor-elect Holford will begin his new appointment at Purdue Northwest on Jan. 8, 2024. During the upcoming months, he will be visiting with the various Purdue University and Purdue Northwest stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as community and business leaders.
I am excited that Chancellor-elect Holford will lead PNW at a time of significant advancement on campus and transformative opportunities in the community. I have visited northwest Indiana five times this year and met hundreds of colleagues and partners and saw the momentum firsthand:
- Recently PNW was elevated by the Higher Learning Commission to a doctoral-granting institution, coinciding with the approval of PNW’s third applied doctoral program, a Doctor of Psychology.
- PNW will officially be designated next year as a Hispanic-serving institution, with more than 25% of undergraduates who identify as Hispanic or Latino served by a dedicated team and resources.
- PNW researchers are playing major roles in the advancement of the Midwest Hydrogen Hub, the Quantum Corridor and steel decarbonization.
- Meanwhile, PNW is working toward the opening of the Roberts Impact Lab, which will contribute to regional commercialization and business expansion, and is supporting the South Shore Line Double Track, which will improve public transportation in northwest Indiana.
- All these contributions to regional economic development are among the reasons PNW recently was named the third Innovation and Economic Prosperity University in Indiana.
I want to thank the Search Advisory Committee — led by Malcolm DeKryger with representation from PNW’s students, faculty, staff and alumni — for its tireless work. They did an exceptional job throughout every stage of the national search process. I also want to thank the entire PNW community for your time and participation. Hundreds of you attended the candidate forums, completed surveys and took the time to learn about the finalists. Your passion for Purdue Northwest and the northwest Indiana and Chicagoland regions came through very clearly these past few months.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Holford on this significant step for PNW. I look forward to working with him and you to continue to distinguish PNW as the premier metropolitan university in northwest Indiana as we provide excellent educational opportunities to our students, economic growth and community leadership in the region, and research initiatives that impact our state and country.