Biography

Sabah Randhawa began service as the 14th President of Western Washington University on August 1, 2016.  He draws on more than three decades of distinguished service in higher education as an educator and an academic leader.

Before coming to Western, Randhawa served as Provost and Executive Vice President at Oregon State University from June 2005 through July 2016.  Previous to becoming OSU’s provost, Randhawa was vice provost for academic affairs and international programs at OSU from 2001 to 2004.  He was interim dean of OSU’s College of Business from 2001 to 2002, and prior to that, associate dean for operations in the OSU College of Engineering from 1999 to 2000 and department head of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from 1993 to 1999. 

During his tenure, OSU experienced a period of extraordinary growth.  Student enrollment surged, the campus and educational programs expanded, and many new facilities were built.  The OSU-Cascades Campus was developed, and the university’s first comprehensive fundraising initiative, the Campaign for OSU, raised $1.14 billion.

Randhawa’s academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1976 from the University of Engineering and Technology in Pakistan.  He earned his master’s degree in industrial engineering from OSU in 1980 and his doctorate from Arizona State University, also in industrial engineering, in 1983.  His scholarship focuses on applications of operations research, simulation and decision sciences.

Randhawa’s top priority at Western has been advancing student success and inclusive excellence.  Among the many things that drew him to Western are its strong retention and graduation rates, which he sees as a foundation for advancing the success of more underrepresented students in the State of Washington and beyond.  In his first year as President, Dr. Randhawa launched a strategic planning process which will conclude at the end of the 2017 calendar year, with a parallel resource-planning process to conclude at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.

As a first generation college student, Dr. Randhawa has witnessed the transformative power of higher education in his own life, and is committed to making it more accessible, affordable, and attainable to people in the State of Washington, the region, and around the globe.

His wife Uzma Ahmad’s background is in counseling and clinical psychology. They have a daughter, Tanya, who graduated from Oregon State University in 2016.