Thrower Leaving Gustavus for Job in Saudi Arabia

Posted on March 25th, 2009 by

Ray Thrower, leading a full-scale emergency drill at Gustavus in 2007.

Ray Thrower, leading a full-scale emergency drill at Gustavus in 2007.

Ray Thrower, director of safety and security at Gustavus Adolphus College for the past 11 years, has announced he will be leaving the College for a new position at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

KAUST is a start-up university being built as an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in Saudi Arabia that will also benefit the region and the world. The university is the realization of a decades-long vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Thrower will serve as deputy manager of the schools 250 person safety and security department. The university expands 12 square miles near the Red Sea in the city of Thuwal.

“There are new challenges that await me,” Thrower said. “This is very exciting for me due to the fact that not too many times in a lifetime would you have the opportunity to work for a university from its conception.”

Thrower came to Gustavus in 1998, just 29 days before the March 29 tornado that swept through the College and city of St. Peter, causing millions of dollars in damages and forcing the College to close for three weeks. Thrower immediately became a major asset to the College’s recovery following the disaster.

“What really impressed me about Gustavus is how everyone in the Gustavus community came together to work through this massive undertaking,” Thrower said. “Who would have thought that we would have been open three weeks later, but we did it.”

During his tenure at the College, Thrower has worked tirelessly to improve relations and communication with public safety agencies. He has also initiated and helped lead bi-annual full-scale public safety exercises and drills that allow Gustavus employees to collaborate with local and regional first responders to practice responding to different emergency situations.

Thrower also started a community-oriented policing program that allowed safety and security officers to work together with head residents and collegiate fellows to develop programs to improve campus safety.

Thrower also stepped onto the national stage when he served as president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). His term as president came at a crucial time for campus safety and security as a result of the April 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech University where an “active shooter” killed 32 people on that campus.

In response to the situation at Virginia Tech, along with subsequent “active shooter” situations at schools like Louisiana Technical College and Northern Illinois University, Thrower co-authored the IACLEA Blueprint for Safer Campuses, that provides recommendations for campus safety along with a summary of successes and failures from the response to the Virginia Tech tragedy.

“The contributions that Ray Thrower has made to Gustavus safety and security — and to the entire campus — have been enormous, and will positively impact the College for years to come,” said Hank Toutain, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Professionalism, collaboration, and integrity have characterized him and his work from day one, and his positive, “can do” spirit and care for people will be sorely missed.”

“Gustavus is my family. I have come to care very dearly for the faculty, staff, and students so this was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Thrower said. “I’ve been fortunate to have an administration that has supported me; I’ve been fortunate to lead a great team of individuals in my department; and I’m proud of the collaborative efforts of this community during my time here.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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