Office of the President
About Dr. Ralph W. Kuncl
Dr. Ralph W. Kuncl is the 11th president of the University of Redlands. He came to Redlands from the University of Rochester in New York where he served as provost and executive vice president, and as a professor of brain and cognitive sciences and neurology.
Dr. Kuncl earned his A.B. from Occidental College, magna cum laude and with election to Phi Beta Kappa; his Ph.D in experimental pathology at the University of Chicago, Division of Biological Sciences; and his M.D. at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.
He started his college professor career at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a professor of neurology, pathology and in the graduate program in cellular and molecular medicine. Dr. Kuncl has received international recognition in the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) for his lab’s discovery of the glutamate transporter defect that is one key to both the disease’s mechanisms and its first effective treatment. His appointment to vice provost at Johns Hopkins was the turning point of his career toward educational administration.
After more than 20 years at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Kuncl served as provost and professor of biology at Bryn Mawr College, and concurrently as professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, before his appointment at Rochester.
Through the breadth and depth of his diverse career, Dr. Kuncl has become accomplished as a leader and an administrator. Interesting and notable highlights of his career include:
- Establishment of the first-ever provost-level portfolio for undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University. Conceived and led its Commission on Undergraduate Education in strategic re-envisioning for the next quarter century; responsible for leading off the re-accreditation process thematically along the lines of: raising the value of undergraduate education; increasing the diversity of students and curriculum; integrating the intellectual and social lives of undergraduates; improving and rewarding undergraduate teaching, especially TA training and assessment; enhancing international dimensions of undergraduate education; and advising and career support.
- Creation and leadership of the first undergraduate Enrollment Management Team at Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus to lead admissions, financial aid, and the deans of engineering and arts & sciences in enrollment policy and practice.
- Tripled federal research funding at Bryn Mawr College for faculty while preserving academic programs, controlling academic expenditures, decreasing the size of the central administration, and helping create new multidisciplinary and consortial programs in East Asian Studies, Arabic and Islamic World studies, and Geoarchaeology.
- Establishment of a distributed function of diversity leadership at Bryn Mawr College; hired more than one-third of entire faculty, with 63 percent of hires women and 36 percent persons of color.
- Creation of what will become a $100M three-way alliance among IBM, the State of New York, and a consortium of more than 400 scientists in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Hajim School of Engineering, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry to establish a high-performance computational center in life sciences at University of Rochester.
- Creation of the first-ever mission statement for the University of Rochester in 161 years: Designed and led the creative and consultative process leading to an authentic, signature, mission statement of only 10 words that serves as the rhetorical basis for a comprehensive campaign: “Learn, Discover, Heal, Create — And Make the World Ever Better.”
Dr. Kuncl is a community supporter of fine arts and a professional vocal performer with more than 20 years experience in the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and other ensemble groups. He also founded both the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Support Group of Baltimore, and KIDSAKE—a free support group for children of divorce and separation.