Dr. Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan Named 26th President of Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark announced the historic appointment of Dr. Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan, the first woman and the first person of color to serve as president of the college in its 155-year history. The selection of Holmes-Sullivan followed a rigorous nationwide search that attracted more than 100 applicants.

Lewis & Clark announced the historic appointment of Dr. Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan, the first woman and the first person of color to serve as president of the college in its 155-year history. The selection of Holmes-Sullivan followed a rigorous nationwide search that attracted more than 100 applicants.

A respected higher education leader with three decades of experience at universities and colleges in Oregon and California, Holmes-Sullivan assumed the presidency in July 2022, following the retirement of President Wim Wiewel. She previously served as the vice president for student life and dean of students at Lewis & Clark and has been credited for her creative leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Holmes-Sullivan received significant support from the faculties of all three schools, including the law school.

She told members of the campus community that she looks forward to working collaboratively with all of them, saying her own experience as a Black woman has shown her the importance of “having a diversity of voices at the table in order to influence and build a sense of inclusion, community, and excellence.”

Dr. Robin Holmes Sullivan Credit: Nina Johnson

“The law school, with its national reputation as a top school for environmental law, as well as animal law, criminal law, international law, and business law, is a critical part of our Lewis & Clark identity,” said Holmes-Sullivan. “I am so proud of the work of our law community—faculty, students, staff, and alumni. I look forward to continuing to meet all its members and learning more about the vital work being done to tackle the leading issues of the day.”

Holmes-Sullivan came to Lewis & Clark in 2019 from the University of California, where she served as vice president for student affairs overseeing the undergraduate admissions process and other student-related issues for the 10-campus, 200,000-student system. Prior to her time at the University of California, she spent 27 years at the University of Oregon, working her way up from a position as a clinical coordinator in the counseling center to vice president of student life.

Holmes-Sullivan credits her father and mother, who worked their way up from entry-level jobs to management positions as a Marine and a health-care worker, instilling in her a lifelong commitment to honesty, integrity, hard work, and care and compassion for others. “Those values will continue to be my north star as your president,” she told Lewis & Clark community members.

Holmes-Sullivan earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University at Fullerton in 1986. She received a master’s degree in experimental psychology from California State University at Fullerton in 1990, and a second master’s in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology that same year. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology two years later in 1992.

Robin and her wife, Kathy, have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and a grandchild.

Dean Jennifer Johnson and Lewis & Clark President Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan, PhD Dean Jennifer Johnson and Lewis & Clark President Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan, PhD