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Founding dean of Cronkite School to be next president of California university

Christopher Callahan, who has been at the Cronkite school for 15 years, will begin his role at University of the Pacific in July 2020


Dean Christopher Callahan of the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication speaks to members of the Blaze radio station before an interview on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.

Christopher Callahan, dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, announced on Thursday that he would be stepping down from his position upon completion of the academic year. 

Callahan will be relocating to northern California and taking on the position of president at University of the Pacific, according to his announcement which was sent out via email.

The end of this academic year will mark Callahan's 15th year at Cronkite. He is the founding dean of the Cronkite School as well as vice provost of the Downtown Phoenix campus and also serves as the CEO of Arizona PBS, a partner with the journalism school. 

“I am extremely excited by this opportunity to serve students in new and different ways at California’s oldest chartered university,” Callahan said in the email. “But this was a difficult decision. Our school is more than just my professional home. Cronkite is part of me. And always will be.”

In 2018, Callahan was named as a finalist to be president of the University of South Dakota as well as the University of Idaho and Boise State University in 2019. 

READ MORE: University vice provost named as finalist to be president of USD

Callahan was among hundreds of applicants whom University of the Pacific reviewed for the position. Kevin Huber, chairman of Board of Regents for the University, said the nationwide search lasted for four and a half months. 

"We know it'll be a loss for ASU, but it's a very exciting time for us," Huber said. "Chris is a visionary and his track record shows he has experience in bringing those visions to life." 

Huber said ASU officials, including President Michael Crow, who worked with Callahan had glowing reviews of both his character and his work.

In a statement from the University, Crow said Callahan is a "great architect of the future through his design creativity in complex academic settings." 

“He has designed and built the nation’s finest journalism school in an era of great social complexity and made significant national contributions through these efforts," Crow said. 

Under Callahan, Cronkite has partnered with multiple journalism programs, including Carnegie-Knight News21 digital journalism initiative and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program for international journalists.

Mark Searle, ASU's executive vice president and university provost said in a statement that Callahan has "exceeded all expectations as the founding dean of the Walter Cronkite school." 

“He has left a legacy of excellence among students and faculty and a school known for the diversity of its people and ideas,” he said.

In a statement to The State Press, Callahan said it has been an "honor and a privilege" to serve the Cronkite School and its students, faculty, staff, alumni, board members and supporters.

"Cronkite truly has become the journalism school for the New American University," he said. "The last 15 years have been truly amazing, but I am supremely confident that the next 15 years will be even brighter."

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