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Poon Thomas

Alumnus Professor Thomas Poon (PhD ’95 Foote group) has been named Loyola Marymount University’s next executive vice president and provost.

Poon received his B.S. in chemistry from Fairfield University and his Ph.D. in chemistry at UCLA under the direction of Christopher S. Foote. He was a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral Fellow at Colby College before he began his academic career at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, where he received the Thomas Branch Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Thomas Poon is currently professor of chemistry in the W.M. Keck Science Department, a jointly administered science program that serves the following three colleges in the Claremont Colleges Consortium: Pitzer College, Scripps College, and Claremont McKenna College. Prior to and concurrent with his faculty appointment, he served as acting (2014) and interim president (2015-16) for Pitzer College.

Poon has taught organic chemistry, advanced laboratory, forensic science, specialized courses in the major, and a first-year seminar class on the science of identity. Poon previously served in various administrative roles for Pitzer College including associate dean of faculty, senior associate dean of faculty, accreditation liaison officer to WASC, special assistant to the president, acting president, and interim president. He is co-author of two chemistry textbooks, including Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 4th edition, published in 2010.  

Loyola Marymount is a four-year, independent Catholic institution in Westchester, California near Los Angeles.


Loyola Marymount

press release (3/9/17):

LMU Names Thomas Poon as Executive Vice President and Provost 

LOS ANGELES, March 9, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Loyola Marymount University President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., today announced the selection of Thomas Poon, Ph.D., as the university’s next executive vice president and provost. Poon will lead LMU’s academic affairs and student affairs divisions, including responsibility for the university’s educational, scholarly, and creative activities, student development, athletics, and enrollment management. He will succeed Joseph Hellige, Ph.D., on June 1. 

Poon will lead LMU’s academic affairs and student affairs divisions, including responsibility for the university’s educational, scholarly, and creative activities, student development, athletics, and enrollment management.  He will succeed Joseph Hellige, Ph.D. on June 1st.

Poon is a professor of chemistry who served in many senior leadership positions at Pitzer College, including interim president, acting president and senior associate dean of faculty. He has written numerous peer-reviewed articles, and has received multiple National Science Foundation grants to investigate topics ranging from his S-STEM work in the molecular sciences and other projects aimed at integrating the sciences into curricula. His research and analyses on the American sweetgum tree have been referenced in academic publications and extensively reported by news media.

As an administrator at Pitzer, Poon supported, developed and led a broad range of academic and social initiatives, such as their study abroad programs, including the establishment of an exchange program in Bhutan; the development of hybrid programs in Vietnam and Brazil; the enhancement of a tropical field station in Costa Rica; and the reopening of a program in Nepal just eight months after two devastating earthquakes. He also expanded mentorship resources for first-year students and provided opportunities for incarcerated men to earn college course credits through a partnership with the California Rehabilitation Center.

“Professor Poon is an esteemed scholar, distinguished educator, and a proven academic leader. He has a track record for developing and supporting programs that encourage global imagination and social justice,” Snyder said. “I am confident he will lead the university’s academic and student development programs boldly and creatively. His energy, collaborative style, and penchant for innovation will accelerate LMU’s momentum as an institution with global impact.”

Poon currently holds tenured faculty positions at Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College and Scripps College, allowing him to interact with students, faculty, staff and administrators at all three liberal arts institutions. He served for three years as convener of chemistry for the science department – a position equivalent to chair – and began as an assistant professor at the three colleges. He has co-authored several books and book chapters, including the text “Introduction to Organic Chemistry,” now in its sixth edition.

“I am honored to join LMU as I am inspired by its mission and values – an institution that educates with purpose and seeks transformative social change,” Poon said. “I resonate with LMU’s commitment to prepare students to thrive as global citizens, thought leaders, professionals, and well-rounded persons for and with others. I look forward to working closely with LMU’s world-class faculty and student development professionals to bring their ideas and experience to purposeful life.”

Poon also served as a visiting scholar and assistant professor at Columbia University, assistant professor at Randolph-Macon College and postdoctoral fellow at Colby College. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at UCLA and his Bachelor of Science degree at Fairfield University in chemistry.