Dr. Jenny Coyle Named Next President of Pacific University
The Pacific University Board of Trustees is pleased to announce its selection of Dr. Jennifer Coyle as the university’s 18th president.
She will succeed President Lesley M. Hallick, who retires this summer following 13 years leading Pacific and 32 years at Oregon Health & Sciences University.
Dr. Coyle brings nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, healthcare and leadership as she returns to Pacific, where she is an alumna, parent, and former professor and dean in the College of Optometry.
“Dr. Coyle is a top university president candidate and a perfect fit for Pacific University,” said Presidential Search Committee Chair Mark Frandsen. “The search committee and the board have great confidence in the leadership that Dr. Coyle will bring to Pacific. We are fortunate that she has a deep connection to our community and culture. She exemplifies the Pacific mission and commitment to student support and success, along with excellence in academic scholarship and research.”
Currently dean of the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University, Dr. Coyle earned her bachelor of vision science in 1990, doctor of optometry in 1993, and master of science in vision science in 2000, all from Pacific. She also completed a residency in contact lenses in 1993-1994 at Pacific, and taught in the College of Optometry starting in 1994. She served as associate dean from 2006 to 2008 and as dean from 2008 to 2019.
"Dr. Coyle is a kind-hearted, intelligent woman, as well as has great enthusiasm for Pacific. I am very delighted to welcome Dr. Coyle as our president!"
— Doan Pham '22, Undergraduate Student Senate President 2020-2021
She is renowned as a leader in optometry, where she has served in leadership positions on the American Academy of Optometry Board of Directors, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (where she was the first woman president), Vision 2020 USA and many others. She received the Women in Optometry Theia Award for Excellence in Education in 2018, the Clarence G. Carkner Oregon OD of the Year Award in 2010, and was named among the 50 Most Influential Women in Optical by Vision Monday in 2006.
“Dr. Coyle has a first-hand understanding of and commitment to Pacific’s distinctive liberal arts foundation paired with exemplary graduate programs in the health professions, business, arts, social work and education,” said Jerry Yoshida ’73, chair of the Pacific University Board of Trustees. “Her thoughtful, inclusive approach to leadership, her experience in strategic planning and accreditation processes, and her authentic passion for Pacific will allow her to hit the ground running.”
"Dr. Hallick has led Pacific's continued growth and excellence as a diverse learning community that offers a unique combination of nationally recognized undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in the arts and sciences, education, business, optometry and the health professions — including most recently through the difficult circumstances brought out by the COVID-19 pandemic," Yoshida added. "The Board of Trustees is most grateful to Dr. Hallick for her excellence in leadership, and we strongly believe that Dr. Coyle possesses the attributes — and is the right person at the right time — to continue that excellence in leadership."
“As an alumna, faculty member, administrator, and Boxer parent, Dr. Coyle understands who we are. Her leadership will guide Pacific’s rich mix of programs to higher levels of excellence. I look forward to working closely with her.”
— Jim Moore, Professor
Throughout her career, Dr. Coyle also has led programs to excellence in academics, student and patient care, and innovation. During her leadership of the Pacific University College of Optometry, she was instrumental in creating the Interprofessional Diabetes Clinic — a partnership between the colleges of Optometry and Health Professions — as well as establishing the PhD program in vision science and partnerships in China to expand the profession. At Southern California College of Optometry, she hired the first director for diversity, equity and inclusion, and also supported training programs and holistic admissions review practices to promote diversity.
She has been intimately involved in university-wide strategic planning, accreditation, new program development, fundraising and alumni relations throughout her career.
“Dr. Coyle offers unparalleled insights on the experiences of Pacific students, families, employees and alumni. She is personally invested in ensuring that Pacific continues its commitment to inclusion and student support,” said retiring President Hallick. “I am confident that she will advance Pacific’s positive reputation as a place that cares deeply for the wellbeing of each and every student, while setting the university on a strategic pathway to further success in the future.”
Coyle said she looks forward to returning to the Pacific community and carrying on the work of her mentor Dr. Hallick, where the mission is part of her core philosophy and values.
“I’ve had the unique experience of being a former student, faculty member, dean and even Boxer parent — so naturally Pacific is my home,” she said.
"After participating in the presidential search for Pacific's new university president, I am very pleased with the outcome, and sincerely welcome Dr. Coyle. The Presidential Search Committee's diligence in approaching this task was unparalleled, and Pacific University is very fortunate to welcome back one of its own to lead us into the future.”
— Emmanuel Luvert '17, PhDEL '22, Graduate Student Trustee
“As a first-generation college student, I have a deep understanding of the challenges many students face as they pursue their dreams. As president of Pacific University, I will continue our commitment to making higher education available to anyone who wants to follow a path to discovery.”
She looks forward to strategically evaluating and building on the university’s strengths while building new partnerships, student pathways and interdisciplinary collaborations.
“The pandemic has truly magnified the inequities in access to education and quality healthcare in our country,” she said. “Breaking down barriers is what Pacific does best. I believe there is much to celebrate at Pacific with the diversity of the students, incredible research track record, and our community of talented faculty, staff, coaches and administrators. The university will continue to have a positive impact on the future of our world.”
— Kerry Mandulak Professor, School of Communication Sciences & Disorders