Purdue Northwest Selects Chris Holford as Chief Academic Officer

February 20, 2020

Chris Holford

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) today announced Kenneth (Chris) Holford will become the university’s next Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, effective May 11.

Holford was selected through a nationwide search that began last fall. The current dean of the PNW College of Engineering and Sciences and a professor of Biology, Holford has served the Purdue Northwest campuses for more than 18 years.

“I continue to be proud of my service to Purdue Northwest, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to take on this broader leadership role,” Holford said. “While the university was already an important part of the communities across Northwest Indiana, it has really undergone an amazing transformation as a metropolitan institution with a much larger footprint. I am excited to be part of these big and bold transitions, but also committed to the rich tradition of student engagement and academic success for which we have become known.”

PNW Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said Holford brings progressive, proven academic leadership experience, deep understanding of the faculty, students and staff of both PNW campuses, and an energetic vision of PNW’s growing impact in Northwest Indiana to his new role.

“Dr. Holford’s commitment to helping students succeed, demonstrated commitment to faculty collaboration and transparency, and success in securing funding for important initiatives helped set him apart from other candidates for this key position,” Keon said. “Through his collaborative approach to partnership with the private and public sectors he already has played an integral part in moving PNW forward as a premier metropolitan university.”

As PNW’s chief academic officer, Holford will oversee PNW’s six colleges and the academic programs they offer, international recruitment, study abroad, retention efforts, institutional effectiveness, grant and research programs, ensure educational excellence and further distinctive learning opportunities for students.

Holford has served as the dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences since the formation of PNW in 2016. Previously he was dean of the College of Sciences and chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry for Purdue University North Central.

Holford earned a Ph.D. in Biology from Illinois State University, a master’s degree in Zoology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Augustana College.

Holford is a native of Washington, Ill., near Peoria. He and his wife, Christy, reside in Valparaiso, Ind., and are the parents of two.