Georgia Nugent Begins Appointment as Wooster’s First Woman President
Likeable leader hopes to further advance the College’s standing as one of America’s premier liberal arts institutions
WOOSTER, Ohio — Georgia Nugent has officially taken over as the first woman president in the nearly 150-year history of The College of Wooster, and although her appointment is for just one year, she has some ambitious plans for the next 12 months.
“The members of the search committee made it clear that they weren’t looking for just a caretaker,” said Nugent, who served as president at Kenyon College for 10 years before spending the last two years with the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C. “I have several things on my plate, including the search for a new head of student life. Colleges are thinking more deeply about this area in terms of what it means and how it should be organized.”
Nugent is also interested in a new approach to matching resources with institutional priorities. In fact, a committee has been formed to address this important challenge. “What Wooster is trying to do shows real leadership in college governance,” she said. “We have a chance to be outstanding in this area.”
Nugent has always admired Wooster from a distance, particularly its signature mentored undergraduate research program. She has also been impressed with the College’s Advising, Planning, and Experiential Learning Center (APEX). “We’re finding that close personal mentoring, attention to advising, internships, and career planning, along with an emphasis on research, contribute to an outstanding educational experience for the students,” she said. “Having those [assets] in place at Wooster was a big draw for me. Of course, I also appreciate the beauty of the campus, which is not a trivial thing. The atmosphere contributes significantly to the opportunity for contemplation.”
Regarding the future of higher education, Nugent remains an unabashed advocate for the liberal arts. “There are many misconceptions about higher education in general and the liberal arts in particular,” she said. “The liberal arts model is admired internationally, and is now being adopted in other countries around the world that are beginning to see its value. I am passionate about this uniquely American form of higher education.”
On the home front, Nugent wants members of the community to feel welcome on campus. “I am very interested in building an even stronger relationship between the community and the college,” she said “It is so important for both to flourish, and I want to explore ways that we can be mutually supportive of one another.”