February 22, 2024
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Pacifica Graduate Institute names new president


Santa Barbara community leader Leonie Mattison will become the next president of Pacifica Graduate Institute next month.

She becomes the first Black woman to lead a post-graduate institution on the Central Coast and, according to a release from Pacifica, she received unanimous support from the school’s board of trustees. She will officially start at the Carpinteria-based institute on Oct. 3.

Leonie Mattison

Mattison has served as chief operating officer at CommUnify, formerly the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County and also as an adjunct professor at Antioch University. She holds a doctorate in education from Argosy University and an MBA in organizational leadership from Georgian Court University.

“I welcome working together, holding heads, hands, and hearts into the future of Pacifica,” Mattison said in a statement. “It is the collective unit that will allow Pacifica to live into its worldwide mission to tend souls.”

She takes over at a time when her organizational development skills will face a challenge. Turnover among faculty led to a no-confidence vote in the Institute’s provost earlier this summer. Among the departures were two professors in the institute’s highly regarded clinical psychology program.

Mattison has won kudos for her six-step T.H.R.E.A.D. program which combines the teaching of Jungian psychology with spiritual development as part of the personal discovery process. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Christian Counseling Association, and Association of Black Psychologists, among other educational and professional organizations.

In 2021 she was recognized by the Business Times as an emerging Black leader in the region and participated in the publication’s Black Leadership Roundtable.