Georgia Nugent named interim president of The College of Wooster
Former Kenyon president will lead college through 2015-16 academic year
WOOSTER, Ohio – The board of trustees of The College of Wooster has appointed S. Georgia Nugent as interim president, effective July 1. Nugent, a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges and former president of Kenyon College, will guide Wooster through the 2015-16 academic year as the college conducts a search for its next permanent leader.
“We could not be more thrilled to name Georgia Nugent as our interim president,” said William A. Longbrake ’65, chair of Wooster’s board. “Her experience as president of one of America’s finest liberal arts colleges, her knowledge of the terrain, both locally and nationally, and her passionate belief in the power of liberal education make her exactly the right person at precisely the right moment for Wooster.”
“The College of Wooster embodies the very best of American liberal arts education,” Nugent said. “I have long admired its values, purposefulness and standards, and I am truly honored to have been invited to join the Wooster community and guide the college in the coming year.”
Nugent is currently a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges, where she has helped design, develop and oversee a public information campaign advocating for the value of a liberal arts education.
As president of Kenyon from 2003 to 2013, Nugent focused on strengthening the college’s core academic values. During her tenure, Kenyon launched new programs in Islamic culture and Latino studies, and the Center for the Study of American Democracy. Funding for faculty research was increased, new endowed professorships were created in anthropology, drama, economics, English, and international studies, and new hires increased the diversity of the faculty as a whole.
When Nugent stepped down as Kenyon’s president two years ago, Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, said, “Georgia Nugent stands out among the nation’s liberal arts college presidents for her keen mind, good judgment, and vision for American higher education. I have admired her unique combination of character, integrity, intellect and good humor, as I have appreciated her voice on the national stage for liberal arts colleges.”
Professor Howard Sacks, a 37-year veteran of the Kenyon faculty, praised her as “direct, honest and transparent. You really heard what she honestly thought. There were no hidden agendas.”
Prior to her decade of service as Kenyon’s president, Nugent held a series of positions at Princeton University from 1992 to 2003, including assistant to the president, associate provost, and dean of the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Center for Teaching and Learning. She taught classics at Brown University from 1985 to 1992, and at Princeton from 1979 to 1985. Nugent earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1973 and her doctorate from Cornell University in 1978.
“The search committee was very impressed by Georgia’s knowledge of who we are and what we do at Wooster,” said Mary Neagoy ’83, vice chair of the board and chair of the both the interim and permanent presidential search committees, “and in particular by her understanding of the transformative power of a model of education built on deep mentoring relationships and serious student research.”
In addition to Neagoy, the members of the interim search committee were trustees Jayne Chambers ’76, senior vice president of the American Federation of Hospitals, and Solomon Oliver ’69, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio; Carolyn Newton, the college’s provost; and Greg Shaya, associate professor of history. Thomas B. Courtice, managing principal of AGB Search, assisted the committee in their work.
“I am most grateful to all the members of the committee for their hard work on a very aggressive timeline,” Longbrake said, “and to Tom Courtice for his wise counsel and guidance throughout the process. Together, they have achieved a truly outstanding result for The College of Wooster.”
As interim president, Nugent will steward Wooster while the college conducts a search for its next president following the departure of Grant Cornwell, who will leave at the end of June to become president of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.
The College of Wooster is America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research. Wooster offers an excellent, comprehensive liberal arts education, culminating in a rigorous senior project, in which each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize and complete a significant research project on a topic of the student’s own choosing. Through this distinctive program, every Wooster student develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools alike: independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, and strong written and oral communication skills. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students.