Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha is Westfield State University’s 20th president, and was formally appointed on December 1, 2015. A lifelong educator, Dr. Torrecilha has worked across divisions and departments to build successful programs to support student success. As president, Dr. Torrecilha is the chief storyteller-in-residence who broadens and deepens the university’s relationship to legislators, alumni, friends, and supporters. He is committed to increasing student enrollment and retention, reshaping Westfield State’s narrative and presence in the community, and developing a culture of philanthropy to yield consistent and lasting dividends to the university.
During his time at Westfield State, Dr. Torrecilha hopes to initiate a four-year plan called “The Westfield Experience.” Year one will concentrate on living and learning; year two will be a year of reflection and establishing short and long term goals; year three will be “High Impact” and focused on service learning; and the final year “The Last Mile” will include working with students to transition to the workforce or graduate school.
Prior to Westfield State, Dr. Torrecilha worked as a professor of sociology at California State University Dominguez Hills. From January 2012- July 2013, he served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the university, where he designed and implemented a cohort-based, first-year initiative to increase student retention and graduation rates. As provost, he invested in student research and supported more than 200 undergraduate research projects. He provided leadership and support to secure more than $16 million in grants and contracts and $600,000 to support faculty research and creative activity.
Dr. Torrecilha also served as Executive Vice President of Mills College during which time he served as acting president on two separate occasions. His many accomplishments at Mills include the design, implementation, and successful achievement of a capital campaign that raised more than $130 million dollars on behalf of women’s education. Dr. Torrecilha also led a successful campus reaccreditation process resulting in an eight-year renewal from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and increased the alumnae participation rate by 10 percent. He funded a student emergency loan to curb student attrition and increased graduation tuition net revenue by $1 million. Committed to social justice, he served as co-chair of the Diversity Committee to assess, align, and integrate institutional policies, practices, and programs.
With a passion and dedication for public service, Dr. Torrecilha has served on a number of institutional and professional committees including the Task Force on Libraries of the Future (California State University), the Institute for Teaching & Learning Board (California State University), and the Graduation Imitative (CSU-Dominguez Hills). Most recently, he served on the Gates Foundation, as co-convener of the Independent Colleges and Universities, East Bay Community Foundation, and as commissioner of the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
A native of Brazil, Dr. Torrecilha earned his B.A. and M.S. in sociology from Portland State University, and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.