Resources and Communications

November 9, 2020: A Letter about Visions and Revival

A Letter about Visions and Revival

From Ralph and Nancy Kuncl, for the University of Redlands Community, November 9, 2020

It is with a range of conflicting emotions — which the University community might well understand in 2020 — that Nancy and I announce the resignation from our roles in the presidency, our retirement from higher education, and the launch of a new phase in our lives.  We will depart on June 30th of 2021 and work to facilitate a smooth leadership transition in the best interests of the future for this beloved institution.

Back on June 2, 2012, the day the Board of Trustees first affirmed us, we announced the beginning of a comprehensive campaign.  That campaign, Forever Yours, is nearly complete and is on track to finish up by the end of this academic year.  So the bookend symmetry of the cycle of a presidency is at hand.

During the University’s presidential search, Nancy and I responded that we would be “partners in all things.”  For both us and the University, we now enter a season of change.

Visions of the future are misty things. They can inspire, emerge, and either senesce or bloom vigorously over time.  At the University’s 11th presidential inauguration on February 20, 2013, there was much fanfare.  In fact, our resident composer and professor, Tony Suter, wrote a brass fanfare called simply, Eleven.  It was a time of great mutual affection and anticipation.  Yet, the words foretold a truth about all callings in service of others:

"Let us dream together things that never were . . . and continue to ask, ‘Why not?’ [after Robert F. Kennedy].  To all of you gathered here . . . it won’t always be pomp and circumstance like today.  We will almost certainly face a tough time or two together . . . and from time to time may even dislike one another, hard as that is to imagine right now.  But the essential point is this: that we are all in this together, acting in good faith and good conscience. . . .  Today is a new day – and may we simply set out right now to make it work . . . for the love of the University of Redlands.”

We will never forget that day’s lyrical admonition by Professor Art Svenson (please, do view his unforgettable performance) to “Take care of ‘Our House’!”  We did.  Promises made in response that day were that we would:

Internationalize.  The charge was this: 

“We owe it to our current students to provide the peer group that will give them a global perspective and help turn them into citizens of the world.”

Together, the University community did just that and multiplied many fold the number of international students in the College and in what are now three graduate and professional schools.  

A new set of liberal arts of the future was foretold.  It was claimed, 

“It won’t be your father’s liberal arts.  We will ask students to acquire 21st Century skills.”  

And it is so.  Faculty and academic leaders have launched many new multidisciplinary programs and pathways under North Star 2020 that didn’t exist nine years ago. 

And there were promises about higher education affordability, spatial design, and idealism that we mostly kept.  But the curious prediction was the one that an emphasis on digital and hybrid modes of learning was inevitable.  Who knew in 2013, when we were just recovering from the Great Recession, that a pandemic would motivate us as we are now?!  The speech claimed . . .

“ . . . ‘Faster, cheaper’ . . . is not what we’re about.  ‘Online’ only matters to me if we can show it enhances actual learning. . . . The future lies in hybrid approaches to online learning that combine the best of place and the best of distance. . . .  Humans yearn for meaningful places, like cathedrals, modern libraries, walkable neighborhoods, and places like this gem of a University in Redlands.  And that doesn’t even begin to conceive of football and track, theatre and orchestras, the Salzburg campus experience, and, even more than that, the viral learning among peers who experience the simultaneity of this place.”

And it was foretold that we would see the arrival of the decades-long-awaited train system.  The Arrowhead Line is being constructed right now on our south campus in Redlands.  And the vision of a University Village grown up around the train is going to be realized — the Request for Qualifications has launched, and a master developer will engage the capital and partners in a private-public-private partnership — if the university community has the foresight to actualize it all. 

A dream that could not even be imagined in 2013 was the eventuality of a merger/acquisition as big as the births of Salzburg campus or Johnston.  But we now have a magnificently beautiful campus in Marin that offers a future for every one of our schools, if the University only realizes that dream. 

So much to do.  It never ends.  Visions are like that, emerging layer upon layer. 

For all of us, it is a time of empathy for our common problems, yet also a time to evoke faith.  Right now, during a third wave of an historic pandemic, many people feel great vulnerability.  We regret that so many of our colleagues may feel so at risk, even though higher education is one of the most resilient parts of our culture.  We know many are suffering.  Yet, we have faith, even now, that all of us will revive and thrive.

At the end of the inauguration, Cornell West was quoted about faith and revival: “. . . We’ve forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it . . . . In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing and just hoping to land on something.”  Our lives go on, Nancy and me.  As we step out into our own next professional passions in life, we can anticipate that the openings we leave for you may help inspire the revival of spirit the University so desires for 2021.

To the future,

Ralph and Nancy

November 11, 2020: From the Chair and Past Chairs of the Board of Trustees: An expression of gratitude and optimism

From the Chair and Past Chairs of the Board of Trustees: An expression of gratitude and optimism

November 11, 2020

Dear University Community Friends:

By now you have seen President Ralph Kuncl’s announcement of yesterday, regarding his and Nancy’s upcoming planned retirement from the 11th presidency of the University, effective with the end of the current academic year.  As current and former Chairpersons of the University’s Board of Trustees whose successive terms of Chair service have overlapped with Ralph’s presidency, we are joining in this letter to express personally, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, our gratitude for Ralph’s nine years of exemplary, visionary, and energetic service as President of the University.  We wish that we could have stretched Ralph’s presidential term of service, but we fully understand Ralph and Nancy’s decision at this stage in their lives.  We are very appreciative that their early notice of their plans will give the University time to plan and execute a smooth transition of presidential leadership.

With their announced transition, we cannot help but reflect upon the beginning of Ralph and Nancy’s recruitment to become Bulldogs for Life, back in 2011-12.  In that presidential search, we were blessed with hundreds of applications from highly qualified candidates, including several sitting presidents of other colleges.  However, Ralph’s resume and finalist interview essentially sealed that process in his favor, as his outstanding history as an internationally prominent medical scholar and successful university provost – coupled with his listening and communication skills and obvious high intelligence and sound judgment – created immediate unanimity among the search committee and the Board of Trustees that he simply had to be our choice.  We are now hopeful and trusting that the improvements to which Ralph has contributed and implemented will make our University even more attractive to prospective successors.

Over the years since that auspicious beginning, Ralph has demonstrated creative and visionary leadership that has made his presidential term truly exceptional.  It will now be up to all of us to continue his visions for the South Campus-University Village rail project and related residential/commercial development; for the San Francisco Theological Seminary and the opportunities it has opened in the Bay Area; for the focus upon international students and general student interest in international studies; and for the numerous other key initiatives that promise to serve and enhance the educational experience provided by this University.

We are also grateful for Ralph’s leadership in initiatives and achievements that will sustain the University for decades to come:  doubling the size of the University’s endowment; the launch and near-completion of the largest comprehensive campaign in the University’s history, followed in tandem by the ongoing Bulldog Athletics Campaign; his financial and planning skills and foresight with liquidity funding, cash management, and accumulation of reserves that greatly cushioned the need for additional measures affecting employees as we weather the financial impacts of the Covid epidemic; Ralph’s medical expertise as we navigate toward gradually reopening the Redlands campus in the wake of the epidemic, while extending in our graduate and professional schools the successful remote and online learning innovations of recent months; and his student-focused leadership in increasing student financial aid resources, along with the personal mentoring he has provided to students to enhance their learning experience and future opportunities.

Ralph has recruited and mentored an outstanding administrative team of Cabinet members to lead the University’s key functions, and over the years has increased the diversity of that leadership group. This has led to an increased inclusive capacity to serve the University’s growing complement of minority and first-generation students.  And, as if that were not enough, he has during his presidency completed 13 peer-reviewed publications within his medical specialties, while also generously giving his time to confer with students, employees, trustees, and others undergoing serious personal or family medical challenges.

We have also been so very well served by Nancy’s active engagement, not only as the welcoming leader, gracious hostess, and steward of the Miraflores president’s house, but also with her positive and encouraging volunteer relations with the various key constituencies of the University, including the Board of Trustees.  We appreciate her successful partnering with Ralph in fundraising, and carrying out her own independent key fundraising efforts on behalf of the University.

As we now move forward, the Board of Trustees will soon be forming a Presidential Search Committee to assist and advise the Board in the national recruitment and selection of the 12th President of the University.  In that initiative, the goal will be to identify and recruit the right outstanding individual to continue the high standards of performance and transformative impact of the presidency of Ralph Kuncl.

We are looking forward to continued successful leadership by Ralph for the balance of this school year, and, along with Ralph, we look to the future of the University of Redlands with great optimism.

Leland C. Launer Jr., Chair of the Board of Trustees

Carole Beswick, Past Chair of the Board of Trustees

Richard N. Fisher, Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees

November 18, 2020: Appointment of Chair for the Presidential Search Committee

Appointment of Chair for the Presidential Search Committee

To:  University Community
From:  Leland C. Launer Jr., Chair of the Board of Trustees
Date:  November 18, 2020

I am pleased to announce the selection of Trustee Larry Burgess ’67 to serve as head of the University's Presidential Search Committee, which will work to bring forward a new president upon the retirement of President Ralph W. Kuncl on June 30, 2021, after nine years of distinguished leadership.

Larry brings long experience on the Board that includes working with three University presidents, as well as much knowledge about the University—its history, present challenges, and visions for the future. Director emeritus of the A.K. Smiley Public Library, former adjunct professor at the University of Redlands and University California Riverside’s graduate history program, as well as author, speaker, archivist, and museum curator, Burgess has deep ties to the University and local Redlands community.

Burgess said in the days ahead committee members will be sought, a national search firm selected, and then "the exacting and demanding work will begin of selecting a president who not only has proven ability, but also believes in Redlands, its mission, and our bright future together.”

A broad group of University constituents will be invited to provide input during the search process. The final selection of U of R’s 12th president will be made by the full Board of Trustees.

If you have questions or suggestions concerning the presidential search process, please email

December 9, 2020: Presidential Search Committee Membership

Presidential Search Committee Membership

To:  University Community
From:  Leland C. Launer Jr., Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Larry Burgess, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee
Date:  December 9, 2020

The University of Redlands Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the composition of a Presidential Search Committee.

The 21-member search committee represents a diverse group from across our U of R community.  In establishing this committee, the Board was helpfully assisted by faculty nominations provided by the University Faculty Senate.

The Board is grateful to all those who have agreed to serve.  It is a testament to the excellence of the University that such an accomplished group of individuals have dedicated themselves to the singular goal of aiding the Board of Trustees in identifying the next leader of the University of Redlands.

The final selection of U of R’s 12th president will be made by the full Board of Trustees.

The Presidential Search Committee membership is as follows:


Leland C. Launer, Jr. ’77, MBA; Chair of the Board of Trustees; Retired Insurance Executive

Larry E. Burgess ’67, Ph.D.; Trustee; Committee Chair; Director Emeritus, A.K. Smiley Public Library

Jamison J. Ashby ’82, MBA; Trustee; Committee Vice Chair; Chief Executive Officer, Nova Health

Carole L. Beswick; Trustee; Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees; CEO, Inland Action, Inc.

Brian D. Murphy ’04; Trustee; President and Managing Director, Meridian Capital

Darren S. Rose ’91, B.S.; Trustee; President, Rose & Tuck LLC

Candice L. Unruh, B.S.; Trustee

Mary K. Vivanco, B.S.; Trustee; Vice President, Plancom, Inc.


Kevin Dyerly ’00, ’04, MBA; Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Thomas Horan, Ph.D.; H. Jess and Donna Senecal Endowed Dean of the School of Business 

Tamara Michel Josserand, Ed.M., MBA; Vice President for Advancement

Mario C. Martinez, Ph.D.; Dean, School of Education & Robert A. and Mildred Peronia Naslund Endowed Chair


Bradley N. Adams ’93, MBA; Alumni/Community Representative; former Trustee of the Board; Institutional Real Estate

Luann Bangsund ’74, ’79, MBA, Ph.D.; Alumni Representative; former Trustee of the Board; Retired Professor of Finance and Accounting, Keck Graduate Institute


Laurie Garrett-Cobbina, Ph.D.; Shaw Chair of Clinical Pastoral Education; Director, Shaw Chaplaincy Institute; Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Education; ACPE Certified Educator, Graduate School of Theology

Gerald Groshek, Ph.D.; Professor, School of Business

Nicol R. Howard, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor; Coordinator of the MALT Program; Co-Director of the REAL Lab, School of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning

Catherine Salmon, Ph.D.; Professor, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences,Suzette Soboti, M.A.; President of Faculty Senate; Chair Academic Assembly; Professor Athletics and Physical Education, and Head Coach, Women’s Lacrosse and Women’s Soccer


Brooke McBay ’21; Undergraduate Student, College of Arts & Sciences


Julie Byers, B.A.; Administrative Assistant, Community Service Learning


Jennifer Thompson, J.D.; Chief of Staff & General Secretary

Lauri Grier ’21; Executive Assistant to the President; undergraduate student, School of Business (scheduling, logistics, minutes, etc.)


The University of Redlands is committed to conducting a thorough, national search to select a president who will continue to strengthen the university’s transformative mission and vision. 

The Board of Trustees has selected Academic Search, a nationally known and highly respected higher education executive search firm, to work with the Board, the Presidential Search Committee, and a variety of University constituencies.  President and Senior Consultant L. Jay Lemons, Ph.D., Senior Consultant Sharon Herzberger, Ph.D., and Consultant Jennifer Kooken will facilitate the process.

The Presidential Search Committee will begin meeting in December.   

There will be opportunities for the broader U of R community to provide input on this important work and they will be identified as the search process evolves.  If you have questions or suggestions, please email

The Board of Trustees wishes to thank our entire U of R community for your continued resilience, innovation, and hard work.  We look forward to working towards our common goal of recruiting an exceptional new president for the University of Redlands.

December 10, 2020: Informational Gathering for Faculty

Informational Gathering for Faculty

Dear Faculty,

Thank you for hosting me at your Faculty Senate meeting on November 20.  I appreciated the opportunity to address you and answer your questions about the presidential search.   Your feedback about both the search process and the qualities that are essential in our next president was and continues to be extremely valuable.   Indeed, that is why I am writing you today.

Academic Search, the firm selected to assist with the presidential search, is inviting you to a faculty-only virtual meeting with them as a key part of their information gathering and pre-search process. 

As Academic Search will be hosting the meeting, I would like to take the opportunity here to introduce them to you.  L. Jay Lemons, Ph.D., is the President and Senior Consultant of Academic Search, Sharon Herzberger, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant with the firm, and Jennifer Kooken is a Consultant.   Jay, Sharon and Jennifer will be hosting you on your call, and I know they look enormously forward to speaking with you.

I apologize for the short notice, but with the significant amount of work ahead of us (complicated by the approaching holidays!), it was very important to Academic Search – and to the Board – that the faculty had the opportunity to provide comments at this critical early juncture in the process.

We hope you will be able to participate.

The faculty-only virtual meeting with Academic Search will be held from 12:30 – 1:30 pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, December 15.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to the University of Redlands.  I know we share the goal of finding an outstanding new president who will lead U of R into our very bright future.

Wishing a very Happy Holidays to you and your families.


Larry Burgess ‘67
Trustee and Chair of the Presidential Search

December 11, 2020: Informational Gathering Meeting for Staff and Administrators

Informational Gathering Meeting for Staff and Administrators

To:  Staff and administrators
From:  Larry Burgess '67, Trustee and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee
Date:  December 11, 2020

I am delighted to write to you today to ask for your participation in the University of Redlands presidential search!

The team from Academic Search, the firm selected to assist us with this important endeavor, will host a virtual meeting for staff and administrators as a key part of its information gathering and pre-search process. 

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the Academic Search team: L. Jay Lemons, Ph.D., is Academic Search President and Senior Consultant; Sharon Herzberger, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant; and Jennifer Kooken is a Consultant. Jay, Sharon, and Jennifer will be hosting your call, and I know they look enormously forward to speaking with you.

I apologize for the short notice, but with the significant amount of work ahead of us (complicated by the approaching holidays!), it is very important you have the opportunity to provide comments at this critical early juncture in the process.

We hope you will be able to participate.

The staff-and-administrator-only virtual meeting with Academic Search will be held from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., on Tuesday, December 15.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to the University of Redlands. I know we share the goal of finding an outstanding new president who will lead U of R into our very bright future.

Wishing you and your family very Happy Holidays!

December 15, 2020: Campus feedback survey

Campus feedback survey

To:  University Community
From:  Larry Burgess, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee
Date:  December 15, 2020

I am delighted to share an additional opportunity to participate in the search for a new president of the University of Redlands.

In my communication to you on December 9, in addition to announcing the composition of the Presidential Search Committee I mentioned that the entire U of R community would be provided with opportunities for input into the presidential search.  By now, you have been invited to either an all-faculty or all-staff-and-administrator virtual meeting with Academic Search, the search firm selected to facilitate the presidential search process.

We also encourage you to complete an anonymous, online survey to share your views: campus feedback survey.  This survey is hosted by Academic Search, and all anonymous responses will be captured exclusively by Academic Search.  Should you wish to participate in the survey—and we hope you do!—please complete the survey by Friday, December 18 at noon, Pacific time.

Thank you for your ongoing dedication to the University of Redlands and this important process.

December 23, 2020: Search for next President launches

Search for next President launches

To:  University Community
From:  Larry Burgess, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee
Date:  December 23, 2020

I write to update you on the positive developments in the search for the 12th president of the University of Redlands.

Since I announced our 21-member Presidential Search Committee two weeks ago, the Committee has convened for two excellent meetings, assisted by Academic Search, the search firm selected by the Board of Trustees. 

We have also worked to include you, our entire U of R community, in this process.

Last week, Academic Search met with over 150 members of the University community in 17 one-hour virtual meetings, including all-faculty and all-staff-and-administrator sessions. You were also encouraged to complete an anonymous, online survey hosted by Academic Search, and we were delighted to learn that 142 completed surveys were submitted. 

Your contributions have been enormously important to our work. The insights gathered have been summarized in a position Prospectus that defines the qualifications, experiences, and skills sought in our next president. You can find the Prospectus and other search resources on the University of Redlands website:

We encourage you to share the Prospectus widely. Advertising in a range of higher education publications, including the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education, will begin soon. If you wish to submit a nomination, please email

In the initial meeting of the Search Committee, Board Chair Lee Launer ’77 outlined the charge to the Search Committee, articulating the trustees’ objective for conducting a search that yields the strongest, most talented, and diverse pool of candidates possible. Each member of the Search Committee has signed a Code of Ethics pledging that strict confidentiality will be observed throughout the search process and in perpetuity to protect all applicants, nominees, and prospective applicants. It is an essential element of our having a highly successful search process.

I will continue to update you at significant stages of the search process.

Thank you again for your continued dedication and tremendous support. I hope that you enjoy your much-deserved Holiday Break, and I extend warm holiday wishes to you and your families. May we all have a safe, healthy, and prosperous start to the New Year.