Neil Theobald

Executive Professor


Office: Education 318


  • Ph.D. University of Washington
  • M.S. University of Washington
  • B.A. Trinity College

Before his appointment as Executive Professor in the College of Education, Theobald served as UW’s Interim President and UW’s vice president for finance and administration. Highlights during Theobald’s Interim Presidency included the purchase of Pilot Hill, a state funding increase of over $30 million, approval of a new campus master plan (which included the two new residence halls and parking garage currently under construction), and Trustees’ approval to reopen UW following the March ‘20 COVID-19 shutdown.

His extensive career in higher education administration has included multiple roles at Indiana University, where he was a tenured professor for two decades and served in a number of administrative positions – as senior vice president and chief financial officer (2007-2012), senior vice chancellor (2002-07), and director of the Indiana Education Policy Center (1993-2002).

From 2012-16, he was president of Temple University, during which time the university improved its U.S. News and World Report ranking by 17 places; increased annual research funding by 55 percent to over $250 million per year, which led the Carnegie Foundation to upgrade Temple to its highest research activity classification (R1); and doubled annual fundraising from $39 million to $84 million. In 2014, the Philadelphia Business Journal named Theobald its Most Admired Education CEO.

Prior to earning his PhD in 1989, Dr. Theobald was a high school math teacher and baseball coach in Seattle. Dr. Theobald is past-president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, winning the Association’s Jean Flanigan Award for the outstanding dissertation in the study of educational finance in 1990. In 1995, the University Council for Educational Administration presented Dr. Theobald with the Jack A. Culbertson Award as the professor who, in the first seven years of his or her career, made the most outstanding contribution to the profession.

He and his wife, Sheona, have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren.

Theobald is an Executive Professor in the College of Education where he teaches courses, is active with his scholarship nationally, and leads several projects connected to workforce development and teacher retention.

See Neil's CV here.

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