New Provost Announced

May 2, 2016

Bradley University welcomes alum Dr. Walter Zakahi ‘78 as the University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Zakahi returns to the Hilltop with 32 years’ experience in higher education. He comes from a similar position at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. Zakahi also served administrative or faculty roles at Minnesota State University, New Mexico State University, West Virginia University and Rutgers University. He holds graduate degrees from Bowling Green State University.

He will assume duties on July 1, 2016. Before then, welcome reception will at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 13 in the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center’s Peplow Pavilion.

In the meantime, Zakahi took time to answer a few questions to introduce himself to campus:

Why did you want to return to Bradley?
I really feel a lot of my personal and professional success is tied to the education I received. It’s a rare opportunity to get back and give back. When I saw the job posted, I told my wife I had to apply.

What are your best memories of Bradley as a student?
I remember the opportunities to compete and travel with colleagues on the debate team, which doesn’t exist anymore. It was a lot of fun. I learned a great deal from them.

I had such great professors and fabulous mentors here. E. Neal Claussen was one who made a difference in my life. He sent me a note congratulating me on my first publication and kept up with my career as I advanced.

What do you think of the Bradley campus today?
When I stood in Founder’s Circle during my interview, I stood and looked around. I could recognize the buildings all these years later. I remembered what it was like to be 18 years old on campus. I had moments of déjà vu as I walked into buildings where I had my classes. It was a joyful day.

Why are you passionate for higher education?
It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the life of young people. It’s important to serve students of various different underrepresented groups. My hope is to make Bradley stronger in that regard.

I’ve had a chance to make a difference with underrepresented groups who needed help individually and collectively to be successful. I’ve enjoyed doing that at every level I’ve served.

And, ultimately, working in higher education daily helps keep me young. It’s like a time machine.