President moves: UCLA snatches a leader from Miami

Kerry Walk resigned less than a year into her tenure shortly after the now-defunct University of the Arts in Philadelphia announced it would close its doors due to declining enrollment and a weak cash flow.


Julio Frenk – University of California Los Angeles
Julio Frenk

University of Miami President Julio Frenk is switching coasts in January to take on the top job at UCLA, becoming its first Latino chancellor.

Dr. Frenk served as Mexico’s secretary of health from 2002 to 2006 before heading Harvard’s School of Public Health. He had lead Miami since 2015. Despite his two decades of high-profile leadership positions, Frenk will face a particularly challenging road ahead—UCLA’s campus experienced some of the most violent protests of the Israel-Hamas war.

A chain-link fence and dozens of security guards surrounded the building where University of California regents appointed Frenk, The New York Times reports. UCLA employees flanked the barricade, waving signs and chanting in protest over the treatment of pro-Palestinian activists.

Brendan Kelly
Brendan Kelly – Arkansas State University System

The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees has selected Brendan Kelly, sitting president of the University of West Georgia, as their next president. He succeeds Chuck Welch, who served for nearly 13 years at the helm.

Kelly has served West Georgia since 2020. Before that, he served a three-year stint as chancellor at the University of South Carolina Upstate. During that time, he also served as interim president of the University of South Carolina in 2019, according to a university press release.

Kelly will begin no later than Oct. 1 though an official date has not been set.


Joel Pearsall – Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho)

President Joel Pearsall announced he will retire in the summer of 2025 after 10 years of leadership. His father also served a 10-year stint as the president of the university when it was known as Northwest Nazarene College several decades ago, according to a university statement.

Pearsall first got a taste for leadership at Northwest Nazarene in 1999 when he became the vice president for financial affairs. In 2008, he was named vice president for university advancement.

Stepping down

Ana Mari Cauce – University of Washington
Ana Mari Cauce

Ana Mari Cauce is sticking to her word and will step down from her post following the end of her second five-year term in 2025, a move that’s been in the works “for several years with the UW Board of Regents,” according to a university statement.

Cauce has risen through the ranks since first arriving on campus in 1986. Beginning as an assistant professor, she then became the department chair for American Ethnic Studies and later in Psychology, before rising as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and then as provost. When Cauce was tapped as the university’s 33rd president in 2015, she became the first woman, first Latina and first gay person to take on the job.

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University stakeholders and staff and state lawmakers applauded Cauce for her mentorship of young faculty, relationship-building with the Washington legislature and her ability to raise money, The Seattle Times reports. One multiyear fundraising campaign raised $6.3 billion in private donations from 500,000 donors.

Cauce was also lauded for how she chose to deescalate pro-Palestinian encampments, such as by funding scholarships for displaced Gazans and increasing transparency around the university’s investment portfolio. Cauce will return to a faculty position, per the university.

Gregory Vincent – Talladega College (Ala.)

Talladega College, Alabama’s oldest HBCU, will be on the lookout for its next president following Gregory Vincent’s voluntary resignation. The Board of Trustees has already tapped a short-term interim president.

Clues around the sudden departure may be linked to a group of faculty who didn’t receive their paycheck on time, ABC 3340 reports.

Vincent will exit the higher education space and plans to return to law practice, according to the college.

Kerry Walk – University of the Arts (Penn.)

Kerry Walk resigned less than a year into her tenure shortly after the now-defunct University of the Arts in Philadelphia announced it would close its doors earlier this month due to declining enrollment and a weak cash flow.

Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

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