PULLMAN, Wash. — Thomas L. “Les” Purce, Washington State University
vice president for extended university affairs and dean for extended academic
programs, has been named the new president of The Evergreen State College
in Olympia. He was appointed today by the Evergreen Board of Trustees.
The college received more than 100 applications to replace Jane L. Jervis, who
is retiring in June after eight years as president. Purce was one of five finalists
for the position.
“I’m honored and pleased to have the opportunity to return to Evergreen,”
said Purce, who was a senior executive at the college from 1989-95, serving as
vice president for college advancement, interim president and finally executive
vice president. “The institution has always been my home. It’s been a
tremendous pleasure to have been able to work for two Washington state
institutions for which I have deep affection.”
An Idaho State University graduate, with master’s and doctoral degrees, he
has wide experience in government, private business and higher education. His
background at WSU includes serving as a counseling psychologist in the
Counseling and Testing Center and graduate work in clinical psychology, both
from 1970-72. He returned to WSU in 1995 in his administrative capacity.
WSU President Samuel H. Smith said Purce has done an exceptional job for the
university. “He has enhanced our partnerships with community colleges,
developed 11 new learning centers and fostered the dramatic growth of our
distance education program,” Smith said. “I am delighted that he is now
moving to the presidency of a nationally respected college in our state. He is
an academic leader with the human relations and political skills to help
Evergreen enhance its quality and stature.”
Purce is expected to remain at WSU through June. He will assume his new
position at Evergreen in early July.