Submitted by The Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College Board of Trustees announced today their intent to negotiate contracts with Dr. John Carmichael to serve as the college’s interim president, and with Dr. Dexter Gordon as executive vice president.

Dr. Dexter Gordon currently serves as director of the University of Puget Sound’s African American studies program, is the Dolliver NEH Distinguished Professor, and founding director of the university’s Race and Pedagogy Institute. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State College

“It’s vital that Evergreen have interim leadership to advance our strategic plans at an energetic pace,” said Board of Trustees Chair Karen Fraser, a retired Washington state senator and former Evergreen adjunct faculty.

“We need leadership that understands and appreciates Evergreen’s values and traditions, and which helps us evolve in appropriate new directions to serve students. John and Dexter offer an outstanding combination of skills and experience,” said Fraser.

Carmichael currently serves as the college’s vice president for finance and operations. He joined Evergreen in 1998, serving in a variety of roles including chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees. A 1987 Bachelor of Arts graduate of the college, Carmichael also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Evergreen and a doctorate in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University.

Gordon currently serves as director of the University of Puget Sound’s African American studies program, is the Dolliver NEH Distinguished Professor, and founding director of the university’s Race and Pedagogy Institute. Gordon holds a doctorate in rhetoric, culture, and African American studies from Indiana University Bloomington.

The Board hopes to finalize agreements and officially name the candidates to the positions of interim president and executive vice president at its June 10 meeting.

If approved, Carmichael will begin his service as interim president on July 1, replacing outgoing President George Bridges, who has served in the role since 2015. The Evergreen trustees plan to resume a search for a permanent president at a later date.

Dr. John Carmichael serves as the college’s vice president for finance and operations. He joined Evergreen in 1998, serving in a variety of roles including chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State College

Evergreen, one of Washington state’s six baccalaureate-granting public colleges, offers a distinctive collaborative education which prepares students for success in the sciences, arts, public service and business. Graduates include Washington Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck, performer Macklemore, musician and actor Carrie Brownstein, “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, entrepreneur Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com, and many more who have earned high acclaim for their professional achievements.

The college student body includes a high percentage of returning adult, first-generation, low-income and Native students. The national publication Inside Higher Ed states that Evergreen’s commitment and support for veteran students is one of the highest in the nation.

Evergreen scores highly in national rankings, making the Fiske Guide’s list of top twenty colleges in the nation scored as a “Best Buy” in 2019 for their high-quality academic offerings and affordable cost.

Evergreen was recognized by the national Washington Monthly as the best master’s university in the U.S. in 2019. The college offers three master’s degree programs: public administration, including tribal administration; environmental studies; and teaching.

Evergreen alumni generate $535 million in annual earnings for the state, while the college brings more than 1,600 jobs, $11.6 million in tax revenue and about $200 million in output to the region, according to a 2018 study by the Thurston Economic Development Council. Evergreen returns $4.68 to the local economy for every dollar of state investment.


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