Message Image  

October 24, 2013


Bloomington, IN – The University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) is proud to honor Ellen Shew Holland, ARM, DRM, MSF, chief risk officer at the Oregon University System, and Paul D. Pousson, ARM, associate director of risk management at the University of Texas System, as the recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Risk Manager (DRM) award. The DRM award is one of the highest honors given by URMIA. Award recipients are nominated and selected by their peers, which is so significant because, more than anyone else, they can appreciate the challenges recipients face and the value of their accomplishments. Since 1989, URMIA has recognized 47 members with the DRM award.

Ellen Shew Holland has served in higher education risk management roles for 22 years. She began her career at Georgetown University, then moved to the University of Denver, where she served as its director of risk management for 12 years. Last year, she moved to the Oregon University System, where she has transformed the way the state's seven public higher education campuses manage risk. Ms. Holland is an engaging and effective leader, an enthusiastic and thoughtful idea generator and contributor, and a person who is never afraid of stepping in to help make a difference.

Ms. Holland is a long-time supporter of URMIA, as well. She began her service of URMIA's Board of Directors in 2001 and served as the association's secretary from 2001-2003. In 2005, the same year URMIA hired its first employee, she led the board's efforts to re-brand URMIA. She served as our Annual Conference chair in 2007, URMIA president in 2007-2008, and has served as the Finance Committee chair or co-chair since 2010. Ms. Holland is a frequent presenter at URMIA and other conferences and has authored or co-authored a number of articles on the subject of higher education risk management. 

Paul D. Pousson joined the University of Texas System in 1996 as a safety coordinator. In 2000, he began overseeing systemwide risk control and risk finance programs and began his work with URMIA. Since 2000, he has led the way with systemwide disaster and emergency response plans, waste management contracts, construction risk management programs with over $6 billion in construction values, international risk management programs, and property insurance programs that have sustained major losses. In 2006, he completed the University of Texas' Management Leadership and Development Program and received the Chancellor's Living by the Values award. Further, Mr. Pousson has served Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA) and RIMS-The Risk Management Society, as well as broker and insurance company advisory boards, and is a sought-after speaker for professional conferences.

Mr. Pousson's dedication to URMIA is inspiring. He has spoken at numerous national and regional conferences, chaired committees, and served on the URMIA Board of Directors. Currently, he works tirelessly as chair of the Inter-Association Alliances Committee, building partnerships between URMIA and distinguished associations including the Association of College and University Attorneys (ACUA), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. These partnerships serve to not only share collected experience and wisdom, but also advance URMIA as an organization.


The University Risk Management and Insurance Association is an international nonprofit educational association serving colleges and universities. Its core purpose is to promote the advancement and application of effective risk management principles and practices in institutions of higher education. URMIA represents over 2,100 individuals at over 570 institutions of higher education and over 100 companies with members ranging from small schools and community colleges to the largest educational institutions. The URMIA National Office is in Bloomington, Indiana, at Indiana University. For more information, visit or call 812-855-6683.