March 19, 2023

Announcement of New President


The United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia announces that its Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Pareena G. Lawrence, a distinguished development economist and senior university executive, to be its next President commencing 1 June 2023.

Dr. Christian Murck, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “The Board has undertaken a global search and identified Dr. Lawrence as possessing the vision and experience required to lead us to pursue and fulfil our mission of supporting whole person education in the changing landscape of Christian higher education in Asia.”

Dr. Lawrence received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics from the University of Delhi, India.  In 1993, she obtained her PhD in Economics from Purdue University and began her academic career at the University of Minnesota Morris.  She served the university for 17 years with dedication and distinction.  The last positions she held there were Professor of Economics and Management and Division Chair of Social Sciences.

As Provost and Dean of Augustana College, Illinois, Dr. Lawrence demonstrated her ability to work with a full gamut of university stakeholders to achieve institutional targets and goals.  She accumulated extensive experience in collaboratively developing and successfully implementing strategic plans focusing on holistic student development, growth, and success of the institution.

Dr. Lawrence then served as president of Hollins University, Virginia, where she focused on enhancing the learning environment and career prospects of its students and was a successful fund-raiser.

Since 2019, Dr. Lawrence has been a Senior Fellow at the Office of International Affairs of Yale University, directing Yale’s global engagement with emphasis on South and Southeast Asia.  In the last few years, she has served as Visiting Professor and Director of Academic Affairs at Yale-NUS, Singapore, helping prepare for its coming merger into NUS’s honors college.

Dr. Lawrence said, “It is a privilege and honor to join the United Board.  Our mission, rooted in our inclusive Christian values, is inspirational as we work to build capacity among our partner institutions to prepare socially responsible citizens and leaders, and ethical changemakers.  I am eager to share my passion and deep domain knowledge to enhance our transformational educational experiences and create more opportunities for faculty and students at a scale that spans multiple nations across Asia, the part of the world which is my home.

“I am excited to be a part of the United Board ensemble. Why an ensemble?  Because in an ensemble, which is more than a team, every voice matters and is essential to reaching our organizational goals.  I look forward to working with its amazingly dedicated community of trustees and staff to bring its vision forward.”