Walla Walla University has selected two new vice presidents who will serve as the institution’s senior officers. Dr. Pamela Keele Cress will serve as vice president for academic administration, and Dr. Prakash Ramoutar has been named vice president for financial administration.
As vice president for academic administration, Cress will provide administrative and academic leadership while coordinating all formal instructional services at the university. Active in the Walla Walla community since 1985, she began her work at WWU in 1990 as an adjunct faculty for WWU’s Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology and served in a variety of capacities until 2006, when she was named dean of the school. In 2015, Cress joined the university’s administrative team as associate vice president for academics and graduate studies, and for the last seven years directed master’s and doctoral programs.
Cress holds a doctorate in leadership from Andrews University and earned both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in social work from Walla Walla University. Certified in thanatology, she was inducted into the International Honor Society and Professional Association in Education, and the National Social Work Honor Society. She is an active member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, as well as The Hospice Foundation of America.
Her academic and professional pursuits have been honored both at the university and in her field, including designation as a Walla Walla University Distinguished Faculty Lecturer and Washington State National Association of Social Workers Educator of the Year. Cress is also a recipient of The Walla Walla University Community Service Award and The Influencing State Policy National Outstanding Achievement Award.
“Dr. Cress has excelled as a faculty member, the dean of one of our largest schools, and as graduate dean and associate vice president for academic administration,” says Walla Walla University president, John McVay. “Along the way she has proved both her effectiveness and her commitment to Walla Walla University and its mission. We are confident that she will continue this level of excellence in this senior leadership role.”
“I love this exceptional community of faith and learning, having served at Walla Walla University, in a variety of roles, for more than thirty years,” says Cress. “It is a high honor to now be invited to lead our distinguished academic team as we continue to pursue our mission into our 131st year of higher education in the Pacific Northwest. Through the years, we have faced new challenges and opportunities with competence and confidence. I know that we will continue to find new and innovative ways to express and live out our core themes of excellence in thought, generosity in service, beauty in expression, and faith in God.”
Cress’ contributions extend well beyond the university community. She is a Leadership Walla Walla graduate, and has served on boards for Children’s Home Society of Washington, Rotary Club, Walla Walla Housing Authority, United Way, Blue Mountain Credit Union, Helpline, and Walla Walla Senior Center, among others. She is an active member of the Walla Walla University Church and frequently presents for community workshops, seminars, and panels.
Cress and her husband, John, have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. In her free time she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and playing word games.
As vice president for financial administration, Ramoutar will oversee the university’s financial matters and is responsible for its accounting, facility services, human resources, information technology, risk management, and student financial services teams. In 2021, Ramoutar joined the Walla Walla University community as assistant professor of accounting and finance. Relocating from Trinidad and Tobago where he served in various finance roles at the University of the Southern Caribbean, he most recently served as vice president for financial administration for six years. Prior to his higher education work, he provided accounting management services at private companies in Trinidad.
Ramoutar holds a doctorate degree in business administration from the University of Montemorelos; a master of arts degree in pastoral theology with an emphasis in leadership and administration from Inter-American Theological Seminary; a master of business administration in finance and accounting from the University of the Southern Caribbean; and a bachelor of science degree in applied accounting from Oxford Brookes University. He received a professional certificate in anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and financial crimes prevention. He is a certified fraud examiner, certified internal auditor, and he has also achieved professional qualification fellow status, the equivalent of the American certified public accountant, from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in the United Kingdom.
In 2021, the University of the Southern Caribbean honored Ramoutar with a Presidential Award for his significant contribution to the development of financial affairs, and he has shared his expertise on boards for Caribbean Health Foods Company, Siparia Seventh-day Adventist Primary School, and the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has also held membership in the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Dr. Ramoutar is uniquely qualified to provide financial leadership for Walla Walla University. He possesses a wide range of credentials, experience as vice president of financial administration at a university, and a love for the peerless mission of Seventh-day Adventist higher education,” says McVay. “We’re so pleased that he will help guide us into the future in this new role.”
“Returning to an administrative role feels like familiar territory,” says Ramoutar. “I feel confident that my past experience in financial administration will serve me well in this new role, and I am hopeful for what the future holds.”
Ramoutar is married to Amanda, assistant professor of education and psychology, and special education program director at Walla Walla University. He and Amanda have one daughter, and in their free time they enjoy sightseeing and spending time with family.
WWU is an institution of higher education founded on Christian teachings and values as understood and appreciated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The university enrolls 1,601 students across its five campuses in three different states. As senior officers at WWU, Cress and Ramoutar will be tasked with helping advance the institution’s commitment to excellence in thought, generosity in service, beauty in expression, and faith in God.
Posted May 4, 2022.