The Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) has announced appointment of Loren Crabtree to president of the organization. He will succeed current president, T. Kenn Gaither, effective August 1.

Dr. Crabtree’s affiliation with Semester at Sea began with his teaching on the S.S.Universe in Fall 1980, and continued with three stints as Executive Dean (Fall 1986, Fall 1991 and Spring 2010). He served as Senior Fellow and Chief Executive for Global Education for SAS in 2008-2009, and interim president in 2014.

“Dr. Loren Crabtree is inspirational, and thankfully, he is aspirational,” said Michael Segal, Chairman of the ISE Board of Trustees. “We are fortunate to have this distinguished educator, with tremendous experience, vast skills, and a kind and caring heart, to lead Semester at Sea.”

A specialist in 20th century Chinese history, Crabtree earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in history and Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota. His academic career included teaching 23 distinct courses and authoring more than 100 papers, articles and books. After teaching at Bethel College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he spent 34 years at Colorado State University, serving as Professor of History, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. He moved to the University of Tennessee in 2001 where he served as Senior Vice President and Provost of the UT System and as Chancellor of the Knoxville campus. He retired in 2008 as Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Tennessee. In 2008-2010 he served as Senior Fellow and Chief Executive for Global Education for the Institute for Shipboard Education.

“It is a distinct pleasure to join Semester at Sea during this time of change and rejuvenation,” said Crabtree. “Throughout its more than fifty years, the program has given thousands of students, faculty, and staff a marvelous introduction to global cultures and peoples. I look forward to working with the exceptional Board of Trustees and the dedicated staff as we transition to the new academic partner, Colorado State University, and the new ship, the World Odyssey.”

Gaither, who has served in the role since August 2014, was the fourth president in the program’s 51-year history. During his tenure, he successfully helped ISE secure a new vessel, the World Odyssey in May, and new academic partner, Colorado State University, in June. In the past year, ISE has also eliminated $80 million in debt and created a strong balance sheet. This April, Gaither’s wife gave birth to twin girls, joining his two-year-old daughter at home.

ISE and Gaither entered into a one-year agreement last August 1, and Gaither’s decision not to renew was not unexpected considering the program’s transitional phase to a new home and academic partner. He will serve out the remainder of his term until July 31.