Vice-Chancellor and President


Robert W. Pearigen, C’76, is Sewanee’s 18th vice-chancellor and president. Pearigen returns to Sewanee from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he served as president for 13 years. Before leaving Sewanee for Millsaps in 2010, he held several executive positions at the University, including dean of students and vice president for university relations.

Cabinet Members

Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. Sibby Anderson-Thompkins has over twenty-five years as a senior-level administrator in higher education with extensive experience leading diversity, equity, and inclusion-related initiatives, strategic planning, program assessments and evaluation. Before her arrival in Sewanee, she served as the special advisor to the chancellor and provost for equity and inclusion, interim chief diversity and professor of practice in Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Peter Gray, University Chaplain

An Episcopal priest since 2008 and University Chaplain since 2020, Peter is professionally committed to conflict resolution, building diverse and equitable communities, and encouraging individuals toward lifelong growth. His work is about striving for justice and peace among all people and respecting the dignity of every human being.

Nicky Hamilton, Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor for Administration and Community Relations

Known for her many contributions to the University of the South, Hamilton has served in various roles during her 16-year career in higher education. At Sewanee she has held the positions of assistant director of admissions, director of residential life and of community development, assistant vice president of government and strategic partnerships, and co-created the University’s Intergroup Dialogue Course and 213-A Leaders Program. 

Parker Oliver, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Before returning to Sewanee in 2011 to manage the University’s marketing and communications efforts, Parker spent 25 years developing creative, strategic, and technology groups to implement campaigns and drive results. Now, Parker leads a team that tells Sewanee stories to enhance its reputation, broaden its reach, and strengthen its bonds with students, alumni, and our community.

Alan Ramirez, Associate Provost and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

Alan Ramirez has over 15 years of experience within selective college admission, recruitment, and college counseling. Prior to moving to Sewanee in 2021, Alan served as associate vice president and dean of admission at Austin College in Sherman, TX. Alan is responsible for broadening the national reach and the demographic make-up of the University.

Kevin Reynolds, Associate Provost for Library and Information Technology Services

Kevin provides vision and strategic leadership for Sewanee’s Library and Information Technology Services based on more than 25 years’ experience in higher education and museum settings. Most recently, Kevin held leadership positions at the Corning Museum of Glass and at Wofford College. Prior to that, Kevin served for many years in a variety of roles in Sewanee’s duPont Library. With his return to Sewanee as CIO, Kevin contributes to the advancement of the educational mission of the University through collaboration, inspiration and innovation, and by leveraging the transformative impact libraries and technology can have in higher education. Along with his talented team of professionals, Kevin works with all corners of the University to weave library and IT services and resources seamlessly into the University’s curricular and co-curricular activities.

Betsy Sandlin, Interim Dean of the College

Prior to becoming the Interim Dean of the College, Dr. Sandlin was Associate Dean of the College for Inclusive Development of Faculty and Curriculum since 2019. Dr. Sandlin's primary role was to support faculty in all areas of their work at all stages of their career. She oversaw the Center for Teaching, which she co-directed for four years prior to taking on her role as Associate Dean of the College. She publishes articles on contemporary Puerto Rican literature and has led workshops and publishes on faculty development topics ranging from equitable teaching practices to inclusive syllabus design to community building. Dr. Sandlin has participated in extensive professional development related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and serves on the institutional DEI team. She earned her Ph.D. in Latin American literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in rural Kentucky.

John Shackelford, Director of Athletics

Entering his 36th season with the University, Shackelford has been serving as Sewanee’s director of tennis for the last three-plus years after leading the men’s tennis program for 33 seasons. During his tenure as coach, the men’s tennis team won 551 career matches and 12 conference titles, and made 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

David Shipps, Vice President for Economic Development and Community Relations

Before returning in 2017 to manage the Babson Center for Global Commerce, David had a 25 year career in the private sector as a technology and media executive. In his current role, David leads the effort to consider and implement initiatives across the Domain intended to expand residential, commercial, and programmatic opportunities.

Marquitte Starkey, Vice President and General Counsel

Marquitte Starkey has more than 25 years of legal practice, in-house and private law firm experience. She spent the last 14 years with the University of Denver, most recently as their deputy general counsel overseeing transactional and operational matters. Prior to that, Marquitte owned and operated a small business and specialized in mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and corporate finance.

Jim Turrell, Dean of the School of Theology

The Very Rev. James F. Turrell, an ordained priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, was appointed vice president and dean of the School of Theology on July 1, 2020. He joined the faculty of the School of Theology in 2002, most recently serving as the School’s professor of liturgy. He, along with the School’s faculty and staff, prepares students to be effective clergy and lay leaders for The Episcopal Church of the 21st century. The School is one of 9 accredited seminaries of The Episcopal Church.

Deborah Vaughn, Vice President for University Relations

Vaughn brings nearly three decades of development and alumni engagement experience working in higher education to strengthen partnerships with alumni, parents and families, foundations and corporations, aligning their philanthropic goals with academic and co-curricular priorities. Prior to leading Sewanee’s University Relations division, Vaughn’s roles included senior leadership positions at the University of Mississippi, the University of Alabama, and Vanderbilt. In her work at Sewanee, Vaughn focuses on cultivating financial partnerships to advance the University’s mission and promote student success.

Doug Williams, Treasurer and Vice President for Finance and Operations

Williams has been the Treasurer at Sewanee since 2015. He oversees the Finance Office, Business Services, Facilities Management and Human Resources. He is also the Frank W. Wilson Professor of Economics. Prior to arriving at Sewanee, Williams served as the economist for the City of Milwaukee where he advised city officials on regional economic, tax, pension, collective bargaining and other policy issues.

Scott Wilson, Acting Provost

After twenty years as a faculty member in the Politics Department and Asian Studies Program, Wilson now serves as vice provost. He is responsible for strategic planning, academic relations with other institutions, and assists with the budget.