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Board of Trustees Extends Contract for KGI President Sheldon Schuster

The Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) Board of Trustees has unanimously approved an extension of KGI President Sheldon Schuster’s employment for five years, through June 2022.

“President Schuster provides forward-thinking, visionary leadership that an institution needs to develop,” said Robert E. Curry, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We have accomplished a tremendous amount during his 13 years, and President Schuster embodies the characteristics of KGI with an entrepreneurial attitude and student-focused mindset.

“Enrollment has grown from 45 in 2003 to more than 560 students in the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year. KGI alumni serve as leaders within the bioscience and healthcare industries, and the efforts of the KGI faculty members, staff, and President Schuster have played a key role in those achievements. Now, in the 20th year of the Institute, the current student population is poised to write a new chapter.”

Schuster is the second president in KGI’s history, and he is now the longest-tenured president among the seven institutions within the Claremont University Consortium. On July 15, 2003, Schuster succeeded Founding President Henry “Hank” Riggs.

“I am incredibly honored to receive the support of the Board of Trustees, students, faculty, and staff,” said Schuster, who began his career at the University of Nebraska teaching chemistry and biology. “Our community is passionate about student success, and I am proud that we have created so many opportunities for alumni to enter industry and thrive.”

Schuster guided the creation of seven degree programs at KGI, first extending the school’s offerings with a PhD program in 2006 and later adding the Postdoc Professional Master’s program (2009), Postbac Premedical Certificate (2010), Doctor of Pharmacy (2014), and Master of Engineering in Biopharmaceutical Processing (2016). In the fall of 2018, the School of Pharmacy will enroll new students for the Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling and the Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics.

“The initial approach of this institution led to innovative degree programs that involve team-based, hands-on, and real-world curriculum,” Schuster said. “That vision is alive today, and it’s incredibly unique and special.”

KGI’s 16th annual commencement in May increased the alumni population above 1,000. The next commencement ceremony in 2018 will occur in the final stages of the 20th Anniversary and will feature the School of Pharmacy’s first graduating class.

Under Schuster’s leadership, KGI also:

  • Cultivated a strong Board of Trustees, composed of 26 leaders in industry, healthcare, and education, and several advisory boards that assist in keeping KGI curriculum and services current to support the career success of KGI students and graduates.
  • Completed its first comprehensive fundraising campaign, begun in 2005, which included a $20 million matching grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, and met the $30 million goal a year early in 2010.
  • Partnered with the Minerva Project to create the Minerva Schools at KGI in 2013 and enroll its first class in 2014.
  • Collaborated with Biocon Ltd., India’s leading biotechnology company, to create the Biocon Academy, a Bangalore-based program taught remotely by KGI faculty, leading to the Biocon KGI Certificate in Biosciences in 2014.
  • Increased the KGI footprint, purchasing an office building and land for future expansion—launching the groundbreaking of a 419-bed housing facility—and rental of space in the Claremont Village for administrative and student collaboration areas.
  • Created three 5-year strategic plans to guide growth through the 25th anniversary in 2022.