Cudd leaving Pitt this summer for Portland State presidency


Pitt Provost Ann Cudd was named president-elect of Portland State University on March 10. She will start as the 11th president at the Oregon campus on Aug. 1.

In making the announcement, the Portland Board of Trustees said, “Throughout the search process, Dr. Cudd stood out to the board for her deep commitment to academic and research excellence, community engagement, the vital importance of racial equity, and the powerful role that an urban-serving university can play in our region and in a renaissance for Portland.”

Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in a statement today that Cudd will be at Pitt through mid-summer. The Portland State announcement said that prior to her full-time appointment she will be making several visits to Portland.

In his message, Gallagher credited Cudd, who came to Pitt in 2018, with launching the Pitt Success Pell Match program; establishing the Provost Academy, a summer bridge program to help students thrive in their first year at Pitt; overseeing two systemwide cluster hire initiatives that are still underway; and hiring two regional campus presidents and four deans, including chairing the search that brought Anantha Shekhar to Pitt as senior vice chancellor for health sciences.

“Despite the inevitable feeling of loss that accompanies such a move,” Gallagher said, “Portland’s recruitment and selection of Ann — a successful leader and bright talent — is hardly unexpected.”

In a statement on the Portland State website, Cudd said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this university. Portland State’s mission to Let Knowledge Serve the City and to open the doors of opportunity for students from all backgrounds aligns exactly with my core values and with the kind of work that I have done at the University of Pittsburgh. I am extremely excited to take on this role leading a university located in the middle of a beautiful, progressive city that has captured my heart.”

Senate President Robin Kear said she is “appreciative of Provost Cudd’s leadership in her time at Pitt, especially early on in her tenure in the area of education affordability through the Pell match program.”

Kear said Cudd also has shown vision in the areas of diversity and inclusion and made contributions to community engaged scholarship and open educational resources.

“She has also communicated her vision through special appointments to the provost’s office in various areas including data science, sustainability, quantum education, digital education, and race and the social determinants of equity, health and well-being. These are all positive areas of focus for the University,” Kear said. “I wish Provost Cudd all the best in this new opportunity.”

Cudd previously was dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Boston University and vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas. She earned three degrees from Pitt — masters in economics and philosophy and a Ph.D. in philosophy — in the 1980s.

She was one of two finalists for the Portland State job. The school revealed the names of the two finalists right before each candidate visited campus in early February. The other finalist was Kathy Johnson, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at Indiana University­–Purdue University Indianapolis. Cudd also was one of five finalists for the job of chancellor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison last year.

What comes next

Cudd’s departure will set off another high-level search for a replacement. The ongoing search for a new chancellor, which the Board of Trustees timeline says will wrap up this spring, may complicate and delay the start of a search for a new provost, who serves as Pitt’s chief academic officer.

The past five provost transitions have involved the current officeholder announcing they would step down for a position on the faculty or retire after their replacement is found. For instance, James Maher announced in November 2009 that he planned to return to the Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty the following year after 16 years as provost. His successor, Patti Beeson, who was already serving as vice provost for graduate and undergraduate studies, was named in June 2010 and took over in August of that year.

Similarly, Beeson announced in November 2017 that she would return to the economics department faculty the following year. Cudd, who was then at Boston University, was named to succeed her in June 2018 and started at Pitt in August 2018.

Finding a replacement for Cudd will involve a search committee made up of faculty, staff and students. In the search that brought Cudd to Pitt, six openings for faculty representation on the search committee were allocated to Senate Council. These six were selected through an election and represented four categories: the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (two), the professional schools overseen by the Office of the Provost (two), the Schools of the Health Sciences (one) and the regional campuses (one).

With Cudd scheduled to start at Portland in August, there isn’t a lot of time to find her successor. Traditionally, searches for top executives at Pitt take several months. Also, the new chancellor may want to weigh in on the process. This could mean an interim provost will be named.

There are currently eight vice provosts, but only four are directly tied to academics — Joe McCarthy, undergraduate studies; Amanda Godley, graduate studies; Lu-in Wang, faculty affairs; and John Wallace, faculty diversity and development. Of these, McCarthy has the longest tenure in the provost’s office. He became vice provost in 2017, predating Cudd’s arrival by a year. Also in the mix are Kenyon Bonner, vice provost of student affairs, and Steve Wisniewski, vice provost for budget and analytics, who both joined the provost’s office in 2015.  The other two vice provosts are Marc Harding, who leads the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, and Lucy Russell, Cudd's chief of staff.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 724-244-4042.


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