Meet the Chancellor

Chancellor Chris Holford

Dr. Kenneth C. HolfordKenneth (Chris) Holford assumed the office of Chancellor of Purdue University Northwest on Jan. 8, 2024.

Read the Purdue News Release

Chancellor Holford had previously served as provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at Purdue Northwest since May 2020 where he provided leadership for the six academic colleges, as well as oversight of the Office of Commercialization and Research, Office of Institutional Research, Center for Faculty Excellence, and the Office of Academic and Student Success.

As provost, he prioritized the quality of the student experience, the importance of developing a highly trained workforce, and the enrichment of the regional community. He has emphasized the importance of academic and research quality at PNW, leading to tripling sponsored research activity at the institution over the past three years.

A professor of Biology, Holford has served the PNW campuses for more than 20 years, previously as the founding dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences since the formation of PNW 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, Ind., branch campus of PNW.

Holford earned a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Illinois State University, with a primary research specialization in crustacean endocrinology. He holds a master’s degree in Zoology (Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with specialization in avian reproductive physiology and eggshell production. Prior to these, Holford earned his baccalaureate degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois with a major in Biology.

He is actively engaged in the Northwest Indiana community, currently serving on the boards of the Shirley Heinz Land Trust and the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra.

Holford and his wife Christy are residents of Valparaiso, Indiana.  He is an avid fisherman and outdoor enthusiast with a lifelong passion for wildlife biology and conservation.

Leadership in Action

PNW Chancellor Chris Holford, right, is introduced by Purdue President Mung Chiang during the Excellence Evolving leadership celebration at PNW’s Hammond campus.

PNW Chancellor Chris Holford, right, is introduced by Purdue President Mung Chiang during the Excellence Evolving leadership celebration at PNW’s Hammond campus.

A man in a PNW jacket stands on the ice between two hockey players.

Chancellor Holford showed his PNW Pride by offering the ceremonial puck drop at a hockey game between Purdue Northwest and the University of Illinois.

2023-24 PNW Student Government Association members pose for a photo with PNW Chancellor Chris Holford during the Excellence Evolving leadership celebration.

2023-24 PNW Student Government Association members pose for a photo with PNW Chancellor Chris Holford during the Excellence Evolving leadership celebration.

A man in a PNW jacket poses with a group of women holding a Chancellor's Cup trophy in front of a banner that says Mane Event.

Chancellor Holford poses with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, who took home the Chancellor's Cup at the 2024 Mane Event for collecting the most items for the PNW Food Pantry.

PNW Chancellor Chris Holford meets with PNW students, faculty and staff during the Excellence Evolving leadership celebration at PNW’s Westville campus.

PNW Chancellor Chris Holford meets with PNW students, faculty and staff during the Excellence Evolving leadership celebration at PNW’s Westville campus.

PNW Chancellor Chris Holford poses with PNW alumni at a community event.

PNW alumni pose with Chancellor Chris Holford at the Crossroads Chamber monthly luncheon where Holford was the keynote speaker to industry leaders, elected officials and local high school students.

PNW Pride mascot Leo loves any avid Pride Athletics fan, including Chancellor Chris Holford.

PNW Pride mascot Leo loves any avid Pride Athletics fan, including Chancellor Chris Holford.

Excellence Evolving

A person wearing reflective goggles looks at a blast furnace simulation

Robust Research

PNW researchers are playing major roles in the advancement of the Midwest Hydrogen Hub, the Quantum Corridor and steel decarbonization.

A PNW student in the classroom

Inclusive and Welcoming

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.