Sierra Nevada College is under new leadership with the appointment of Dr. Alan Walker, who started his tenure as president of Nevada’s only private college in September.
Walker brings a diverse academic skill set to SNC Tahoe as well as 30 years of progressive leadership in higher education and postsecondary institutions. Most recently, he held roles as interim provost at Shawnee State University, and as president of Upper Iowa University, a post he held for eight years.
During his time at Upper Iowa the university significantly expanded its enrollment as well as its footprint, with satellite centers in regional and international locations.
“The SNC trustees underwent a rigorous recruitment process where we looked at more than 100 candidates,” said Atam Lalchandani, chairman of the board of trustees. “Dr. Walker’s vision, enthusiasm for education and track record of leadership are impressive. He has a great mentality, an aptitude for teamwork and collaboration, and a personality that fits well with the college and local community.”
Along with his academic credentials, Walker embodies the adventurous spirit that is part of the Lake Tahoe culture: Before starting, he drove across the country on his Harley-Davidson, eventually meeting up with SNC Board Trustee Bob Hall and Ski Business Resort Management Program Director Tim Cohee for the Nevada leg of the journey.
He rolled into town the day of the Tahoe Forum on Sept. 19, donning a suit to introduce speaker Isabelle Allende at a program held at the Incline Village college.
Walker says Lake Tahoe already feels like home.
“This is an amazing place, and SNC has developed a strong reputation where creative, entrepreneurial students get a rich academic experience while connecting to one of the most beautiful environments on earth,” said’ Walker. “This is a unique opportunity for me to be a part of a strong legacy while helping advance the college as a leading institution in the future.”
SNC Tahoe’s curriculum is based on four core themes: entrepreneurial thinking, professional preparedness, liberal arts and sustainability.
Undergraduate and graduate programs attract a student body looking for a hands-on, high-quality, focused education. In addition to its main campus, located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, Sierra Nevada College offers programs at campuses in Reno and Las Vegas.
Earlier in his career, Walker served as vice provost for extended university programs at Western Michigan University; director of the fire and emergency training institute at Louisiana State University; director, fire service training, division of continuing education at the University of Kansas, and director of fire service training at the Idaho State Division of Vocational Education. He holds degrees in Fire Science (AS), College of Southern Idaho; Trade and Industrial Technical Education (BS), University of Idaho; Adult/Vocational Education (MEd), University of Idaho; and Higher Education Policy and Administration (PhD), University of Kansas.
Walker and his wife of 30 years, Debbie, are avid outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy cycling, skiing, camping, backpacking, and sailing. Debbie grew up in Washington State and Alan has family in Idaho; they both look forward to being close to friends and family in the West. They have one daughter, Emily, who is a junior in college.