University News

Scripps College Academic Leader Named Provost of Pacific

Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert, a highly respected academic leader at Scripps College and biology professor at Scripps, Claremont McKenna College and Pitzer College, will be the new provost and executive vice president of University of the Pacific as of July 1, 2023. She will succeed Maria Pallavicini, who is retiring after serving as provost for the past 12 years and serving for one year as interim president.

Edwalds-Gilbert served for six years as associate dean of the faculty at Scripps College, the number-two academic post at the all-women’s liberal arts college, one of the five Claremont Colleges in Southern California. Scripps is ranked 33rd by U.S. News and World Report among national liberal arts colleges. Most recently she served for 15 months as acting vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, the college’s top academic post. She also has extensive experience working across all five of the Claremont schools, including serving as faculty director of the Claremont Faculty Leadership Program.

A molecular biologist who earned a PhD from Weill Medical College of Cornell University/Sloan-Kettering Institute and a BA in biology from Swarthmore College, she is a biology professor on the faculties of Scripps, Pitzer College and Claremont McKenna. She also is a visiting scientist at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Warsaw Institute for Genetics and Biotechnology in Poland.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Edwalds-Gilbert to the Pacific family as the leader of our academic enterprise,” said Pacific President Christopher Callahan.

As provost, Edwalds-Gilbert will be working side-by-side with faculty, deans, staff and the president’s cabinet on building an innovative curriculum and improving all dimensions of the student experience to increase the success of Pacific students. She will have direct responsibility for the university’s nine schools and colleges across the three campuses in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco, with more than 1,250 faculty and staff and 6,300 students.

“I am excited to join Pacific and to work with deans, faculty, staff and students to continue to enhance the student experiences at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels,” Edwalds-Gilbert said.  “I look forward to working closely with a team of leaders who are innovative and committed to making Pacific the nation’s best student-focused comprehensive university.”

Pacific Students Guaranteed Admission to Touro University California Medical School

Thirty qualified University of the Pacific seniors will be guaranteed admission to the medical school at Touro University California each year under a new partnership between the two institutions. Select Pacific students who meet the GPA and standardized test requirements will earn automatic admission to the College of Osteopathic Medicine on Touro’s Vallejo campus. Osteopathic medicine is a holistic approach to medical care with an emphasis on the musculoskeletal system.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students seeking a career in medicine by providing a clear pathway to medical school,” said Maria Pallavicini, provost and executive vice president. “This partnership also will greatly impact the region by training a diverse group of highly qualified students who are likely to stay in the area and fill the growing need for physicians.” 

The United States could have a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, according to a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The existing shortage of primary care doctors is especially high in California’s Central Valley. Pacific’s diverse student body (36% identify as Asian and 25% as Hispanic) also can help meet the need for physicians from underserved communities. Research has shown students from underserved communities are more likely to work in those areas.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to partner with University of the Pacific to help build a more diverse physician workforce,” said Tami Hendriksz, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and chief academic officer at Touro. “The alignment of our missions makes this partnership an ideal way to creatively address the projected physician shortages in our communities.”

To qualify for the guaranteed admission program, Pacific students must have earned science and cumulative GPAs of 3.5 or better, attained a Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score of at least 505 and completed 100 hours of volunteering with osteopathic physicians, primary care clinics or underserved communities, among other criteria. Students do not need to be in a specific major.

Pacific students will also be guaranteed admission to two other programs at Touro under the new partnership agreement: master of public health (10 students annually), which will train students to be leaders in research, education and policymaking, and the master of science in medical health sciences (10 students annually), a one-year program enabling students to become stronger candidates for medical school and opening the door for other healthcare-related opportunities.