Skip to main content

April 2020

Daniel Press

Daniel Press

University Selects New Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences

Daniel Press will lead the College into the new decade.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Apr. 8 2020—Daniel Press, associate dean and professor of environmental studies at University of California, Santa Cruz, has been selected as the next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University. He will begin his tenure on July 1, 2020. 

Press, who has taught at UC Santa Cruz for 28 years, has extensive administrative experience and a long record of fostering faculty research. Among his many accomplishments, Press raised $13 million for UCSC’s sustainable agriculture program; helped establish the Environmental Studies Ph.D., master’s in Coastal Science and Policy and Agroecology bachelor’s degree program there; and acted as a mentor to dozens of faculty members and graduate students.

“Serving Santa Clara University in a leadership role that draws on all my skills and experience is deeply fulfilling and a tremendous honor,” says Press. “As a leader, I strive to convey an ambitious sense of what is possible, and in SCU, I find an institution willing to imagine—and enact—bold innovations on behalf of its community.” 

In addition to extensive fundraising and experience developing and expanding academic programs, Press served as UC Santa Cruz’s executive director of the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems. The educational, research, and public service organization is dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and addressing social justice in the food system. By growing the Center’s undergraduate enrollments, research opportunities and endowments, Press also situated the center to more effectively fulfill its objective of educating the next generation of farmers and leaders in sustainable agriculture. 

 “I am delighted that Daniel has agreed to serve as the next Dean of the College,” said Kevin O’Brien, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “He is an accomplished scholar and a proven academic leader. He shares the aspirations and values of our Jesuit mission, including a commitment to the care of each person and service to the common good.  We look forward to welcoming him to campus this summer."

Versed in bringing together scholars from disparate disciplines, Press comes prepared to create innovative interdisciplinary collaborations among the faculty. His experience in both leading and serving, positions him to expand upon the vision of the College and to engage faculty and staff in achieving its goals. Those qualities are especially important at this challenging moment in our University’s history.

Press will succeed Terri Peretti, who is currently serving as interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I would like to thank Interim Dean Terri Perretti for her extensive and creative work over the past year, as well as her support of our diverse and stellar faculty” said Lisa Kloppenberg, provost at Santa Clara University. “I am also grateful for the work and vision of the Search Committee.”

An environmental policy expert, Press has significant experience leading through public service. He served for six years on the California Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Appointed by the governor, and approved by the California State Senate, Press helped administer and enforce state and federal clean water laws in California’s Central Coast, a region slightly larger than the state of Maryland. Additionally, he has advised several land trusts and an environmental education non-governmental organization.

Press earned a bachelor’s degree in fermentation science from the University of California, Davis, and both a master’s degree in public policy and Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University. He is the recipient of UCSC’s Golden Apple Teaching Award and the Excellence in Teaching Award. Press also held the university’s Pepper-Giberson Endowed Chair in Environmental Studies, and served as the Olga T. Griswold Professor of Environmental Studies.

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Press was raised in Morocco, France, and the United States. He currently lives in Santa Cruz with his wife, Sarah, and two sons, Amos and Elijah. His daughter, Isobel, is living and working in Seattle, Washington, where she graduated from Seattle University in 2016.

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences challenges students to explore their intellectual passions, enhance their strengths, and develop their talents to serve the common good. As the home of the Core Curriculum, the College offers more than three dozen areas of study for undergraduate students spanning the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, with interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary programs options. The College also offers an M.A. in Pastoral Ministries for graduate students. Home to the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the College offers programming through various initiatives, such as the Sinatra Chair in the Performing Arts and the DeNardo Lectureship in the Health Sciences. For more information, visit

About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see

Media Contacts
Deepa Arora | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5125
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121

Recent Headlines