One day announcements of marginalized people as the firsts in high ranking positions will be a thing of the past. Until then, it’s still newsworthy as multiple underrepresented communities will be represented at Lewis & Clark College with a newly appointed president.

The Portland liberal arts college announced that after a rigorous six-month national search, resulting in a pool of more than 100 candidates, Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan will become the institution’s 26th president.

Dr. Holmes-Sullivan is the current Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. She has more than three decades of experience in higher education in California and Oregon. Member of the Presidential Search Committee, Andrea Dooley, described Holmes-Sullivan as “a person of vision and unwavering integrity.” 

In July, once current president Wim Wiewel retires, she will be the first woman and the first person of color, who also identifies as gay, to serve as Lewis & Clark’s president in the college’s 155-year history.  

“I hope to be an inspiration to young people who come from a variety of backgrounds to let them know they can dream big as well,” Dr. Holmes-Sullivan told KGW8. “I think I bring that understanding and that ability to work through some of those issues and inspire others to help students work through those important issues.” 

With her intersecting identity, Holmes-Sullivan hopes to lead by example in tough conversations around race, gender and sexuality.


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