McCulloh was born in Los Angeles, raised in Claremont, California; Bethesda, Maryland; and Seattle, Washington. He attended Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, Washington, graduated from John Marshall (Alternative) High School, and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a food service specialist, primarily with the 5th Infantry Division (United States) at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Honorably discharged a sergeant, his military decorations included the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. Following his discharge, he earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Gonzaga University in 1989. As a student, he was elected Gonzaga's student body president during his senior year.
In 1989, McCulloh was admitted to study for the master of science degree in experimental psychology at Oxford University, England. A member of Wolfson College, Oxford, McCulloh conducted research under the supervision of British social psychologist Michael Argyle, D.Sc., and his academic advisor was experimental psychologist Donald E. Broadbent. McCulloh's area of research involved evaluating the power of the social context in gender stereotyping. Other faculty and colleagues with whom he worked include well-known psychologist and television personality Peter Collett, and British Green Party politician Mike Woodin. As a student, he tutored undergraduates, was a member of the Oxford Union and participated in symposia of the British Psychological Society. In 1998, he was granted the degree of doctor of philosophy in experimental social psychology from Oxford University, and elected to membership in the American Psychological Association.
He is married to Julie McCulloh. The couple have three daughters: Kathryne, Anne and Emily.
McCulloh joined Gonzaga's staff in 1990, initially serving as a student affairs professional in residence life. He taught undergraduate psychology part-time for a number of years while serving in a variety of administrative positions, including dean of student academic services, dean of student financial services, associate academic vice president, and vice president for administration and planning. McCulloh also served as the interim academic vice president from 2007 until becoming interim president in 2009. During his administrative tenure, he worked on a number of institutional projects including development of Gonzaga's first office for students with disabilities, the implementation of an integrated computing information system, the development of new campus housing, chairing the decennial regional accreditation self-study, and the creation of a new institutional strategic plan.
McCulloh was named interim president of the university by Gonzaga's board of trustees on April 17, 2009, and his appointment was effective on July 15, 2009. McCulloh was elevated from interim president to president of Gonzaga by the board of trustees on July 16, 2010. His promotion made McCulloh the university's first permanent, non-Jesuit to hold the office in Gonzaga's history. (Harry Sladich, a lay academic administrator, had previously served as president for two terms, but in an acting, interim basis).
During his tenure, Gonzaga University has moved through a series of key leadership changes and undertaken a number of significant strategic initiatives. Cognizant of the need to deliver a valued, high-quality educational experience, in summer of 2013 the institution broke ground on a new, 168,000 square foot University Center, led and supported by the largest gift in Gonzaga's history and scheduled to open in time for the fall of 2015. The recently opened John J. Hemmingson University Center provides a technologically advanced environment reflective of the core components of a distinctly Jesuit education. It prominently features the Center for Global Engagement, reflective of the institution's commitment to international education and study abroad, as well as numerous services to host and support student learning and functions to support student development. The Center also hosts the new, primary residential dining facility for the campus. Gonzaga recently announced a significant bequest, which will support the design and construction of the 52,000 s.f. Myrtle Woldson Center for the Performing Arts. Other significant developments, such as the launch of a new School of Nursing and Human Physiology in response to growing demand, as well as the potential for development of a Spokane medical education partnership with the University of Washington, have also recently occurred under his leadership.
McCulloh currently serves on a number of non-profit boards and has been recognized for his contributions to Jesuit and Catholic higher education. He is currently a member of the Greater Spokane, Incorporated (GSI) Board of Trustees and has served as the Co-chair of its Higher Education Leadership Group. In 2009 the Archdiocese of Seattle's Fulcrum Foundation recognized McCulloh as a "Champion of Catholic Education," and he currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). His work with the AJCU has included efforts in support of the Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins project. In 2013 he received the President's Award from Region V of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.