Meet Dr. Ralph W. Kuncl

Dr. Ralph W. Kuncl is the 11th president of the University of Redlands.  He joined the University in August 2012, having served most recently as provost and executive vice president as well as professor of neurology and brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester in New York.  His leadership while at Rochester produced a corporate-university-governmental alliance in New York to establish a nation-leading Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation, expected eventually to reach $100 million in high-performance computing assets.  He has more than 30 years of experience teaching undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in neurosciences, pathology, and medicine. 

The majority of his early career was spent at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he served as professor of neurology, pathology, and cellular and molecular medicine.  There he was appointed as the university’s founding Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education in 2001.  While at Hopkins, he received international recognition in the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, for laboratory discoveries of important disease mechanisms that helped rationalize its first effective treatment.  He was the man on the Baltimore Orioles’ infield on September 6, 1995, accepting a $1.3 million endowment from Cal Ripken Jr. the night Cal broke Lou Gehrig’s “Iron Man” record.

On a broader stage, he has provided leadership at the national level in undergraduate higher education reform and college affordability, having served on the Board of Directors of the Tuition Plan Consortium (sponsor of the Private College 529 Plan), and is an appointee of the National Academies of Sciences as a member of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (2009 to 2016).

Known for his extensive professional support and development of those with whom he has worked, Dr. Kuncl has mentored not only his administrative staff and faculty colleagues but scores of undergraduates, medical students, and postgraduate research trainees over the years.  A medical doctor by training, “Dr. K”— as many students and staff like to call him — has been “making his rounds,” meeting or working alongside hundreds of Bulldogs during his first years at the University of Redlands.  Here he is spearheading expansive internationalization of the University, raising our national stature by bringing public intellectuals into campus residence as University Distinguished Fellows, leading a comprehensive campaign, and propelling the University to greater financial health.  Enrollment quality, strength, and diversity are thriving, so that U of R has become a “hot” university for prospective students to consider.

“Dr. K,” whose 20 years as a vocal performer in the Baltimore Choral Arts Society continues to propel his interest in musical performance, joined the University of Redlands choirs in a memorable performance of Mozart’s Requiem on May 25, 2013, at Carnegie Hall in New York, and again with Verdi’s Requiem in Hollywood to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project in 2014.  The highlight of his musical career was the chance to conduct the combined University orchestra and chorus in Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in the 2014 Feast of Lights.

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 from the University of Chicago; and his M.D. at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

 He and wife Nancy live in Redlands at the University’s historic home and gardens called Miraflores.