New vice president for Student Life

Doug Tilstra begins his duties in July


Doug Tilstra has been selected by Walla Walla University to serve as the new vice president for student life. Tilstra, who lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., will begin his duties on July 1.

In this position, Tilstra will oversee all areas of Student Life, including housing, spiritual and social co-curricular programs, student missions, campus ministries, athletics, food services, student government, security, counseling, and health services.

Tilstra comes to WWU after 17 years with Southern Adventist University. There he serves as director of outdoor education and leadership, overseeing the master’s degree program training educators to use the outdoors as a classroom. He began his time at Southern Adventist University in the School of Religion as professor of church leadership.

“Dr. Tilstra brings a passion for mentoring and developing students to his new role,” says McVay. “He possesses more than 30 years of valuable experience in leadership development and discipleship both in and out of the classroom. We look forward to the contributions he will make to Walla Walla University.”

Before his work at Southern Adventist University, Tilstra served as a pastor in the Gulf States Conference, Northern California Conference, and British Columbia Conference. He is a Georgetown University-certified executive leadership coach and a certified emotional-intelligence trainer and coach. He has authored or coauthored numerous articles and professional papers on the subject of leadership.

Tilstra holds a doctoral degree in organization and management with a specialization in leadership from Capella University and a master of divinity degree from Andrews University. He has a bachelor’s degree in theology from Pacific Union College. 

Hilary Catlett, who has been serving as interim vice president since February 2017, will return to her role as assistant vice president of student life/dean of students.

Tilstra will move to the Walla Walla Valley with his wife, Lorraine. They are the parents of three children: John (married to Lisa and living in the Netherlands), Stephen (a physical therapist in Chattanooga), and Elisabeth (a master’s student in British Columbia).


Posted May 24, 2017

Doug Tilstra has more than 30 years of experience as a pastor, professor, and director.