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'I hope to be an inspiration': First female, Black, LGBTQ president selected at Lewis & Clark College

Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan is the current Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. She has more than three decades of experience in higher education.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Multiple underrepresented communities will be represented for the first time at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, with a newly selected president.

"I'm very excited about this opportunity," said Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan.

Holmes-Sullivan will take over as the school's president in July when current president Wim Wiewel retires.

Her appointment to the role by the Lewis & Clark board of trustees is historic.

"In our 155-year history here at Lewis & Clark, I'll be the first female and the first person of color to assume this role...I also identify as gay," she explained. "I hope to be an inspiration to young people who come from a variety of backgrounds to let them know they can dream big as well."

Holmes-Sullivan is Lewis & Clark College's current Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. She has more than three decades of experience in higher education, spanning Oregon and California.

"You want to have a variety of voices at the table to be able to give good information and perspectives," Holmes-Sullivan said.

Her goal is to maintain momentum toward strong enrollment, fundraising, faculty resources and staff diversity. She also hopes to establish stronger connections with the Portland community so the campus can give back.

Through managing the campus, she ultimately hopes to lead by example in tough conversations around race, gender and sexuality.

"We want to work together, to be in community and not be divisive. And also realizing these conversations are hard, and that's normal, they're supposed to hard. If they were easy, we would have done them a long time ago."

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