Ken RalphA recognized leader in building successful athletics programs, Ken Ralph will join Southwestern University as athletic director effective Sept. 15.

A native of Salem, New Hampshire, Ralph has served as director of athletics at the University of Maine since 2018. Prior to that he served 11 years as the director of athletics at Colorado College, and from 2002 to 2007 was director of athletics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

“I am delighted to welcome Ken Ralph to Southwestern,” SU President Laura Skandera Trombley said. “He has an outstanding reputation as a national leader in athletics design, leadership, and fundraising. His commitment to our student-athletes and coaches is most welcome, and he has been a long-time admirer of Southwestern University. I know Ken is looking forward to moving our program forward as we change football conferences next year, as well as expanding and improving our athletic facilities.” 

Trombley noted Ralph’s extensive experience in building Division III programs. At Colorado College Ralph spearheaded the $27 million expansion of the El Pomar Sports Center and the construction of the recently completed $52 million Robson Arena while achieving record-setting athletics fundraising, sponsorships and international recognition—in 2015 the Colorado College women’s soccer team played as Team USA for the World University Games in South Korea. While at RPI he oversaw the design, planning and fundraising for the Institute’s $92 million East Campus Athletic Village.

Most recently, at the University of Maine Ralph secured a $90 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation, one of the top-ten largest single gifts ever given to an athletic department.

Ralph earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, where he was an All-American in swimming. He earned a master’s degree in sports management studies from California University of Pennsylvania.

“Words cannot express the excitement I feel in being asked to join the team at Southwestern University. With a clear vision for the future and outstanding leadership, Southwestern is poised to make significant strides as it secures its rightful spot as a top-tier liberal arts university,” Ralph said. “There is a strong commitment at SU to provide a first-class experience for the students, and I am looking forward to athletics being an exciting part of the future of the institution. It’s a great day to be a Pirate!”

For more information, contact Tom Delahunt, Vice President for Strategic Recruitment and Enrollment, delahunt@southwestern.edu