Girl Smiling

Sarah Bolton (photo: Roman Iwasiwka) 


Sarah Bolton named 12th president of The College of Wooster

Will assume new duties on July 1, 2016

10 November, 2015 by John Hopkins

WOOSTER, Nov. 10, 2015 – The board of trustees of The College of Wooster has chosen Sarah Bolton, dean of the college and professor of physics at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., to become Wooster's twelfth president. She will assume her new duties on July 1, 2016.

"Sarah Bolton believes passionately in the vital role and transformative impact of residential liberal arts colleges," said William A. Longbrake, chair of Wooster's board of trustees, "and for 20 years, she has put that belief into practice as a professor, department chair, and dean at Williams. As we approach the 150th anniversary of Wooster's founding next year, she is precisely the right person at exactly the right moment to lead this extraordinary college to new heights."

"It is a tremendous honor and pleasure to have this opportunity to serve The College of Wooster," Bolton said. "Wooster's superb liberal arts education is founded on the understanding that, with the close mentorship of faculty, every student can create and communicate new knowledge. This unique and enduring commitment makes Wooster a tremendously exciting place to work and learn, and I am thrilled to have the chance to support Wooster's faculty, staff, and students in moving the college forward to even greater strengths in the coming years."

As dean of the college at Williams, one of the nation's most highly regarded liberal arts colleges, Bolton has broad responsibility for all aspects of students' personal and academic development, including academic advising and support programs across all four years, off-campus study, international student services, sexual assault prevention and response, the registrar's office, and the college's efforts to prepare students to compete for undergraduate and postgraduate fellowships. In addition, she has focused attention on the needs of first-generation college students, and on efforts toward equity and inclusion on Williams' campus.

Mary Neagoy '83, chair of the presidential search committee and vice chair of the board of trustees, added, "The search committee was unanimous and enthusiastic in its support for Sarah Bolton's appointment as Wooster's next president. We were deeply impressed by her grasp of the uniquely powerful elements of a Wooster education -- chiefly our signature program of Independent Study -- and by her vision for the next chapter of the college's history. Sarah has an obvious and infectious passion for the many ways a liberal education can transform every student's life."

Prior to being named dean of the college at Williams in 2010, Bolton served as chair of the physics department from 2007 to 2010. She won the college's Outstanding Mentor Award for Fostering Inclusive Academic Excellence in 2009, and has advised a dozen senior theses and more than 20 student research projects.

Bolton came to Williams as an assistant professor of physics in 1995. She was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and full professor in 2007. Her research explores the properties of novel, nanostructured materials, which have features made up of only a few atomic layers. She uses lasers to measure the ways that energy moves in these quantum mechanical systems.

As dean, Bolton has focused on ensuring that all students thrive inside and outside the classroom. Working with colleagues across many offices at Williams, she has brought together teams to build programs for first-generation college students and to strengthen academic advising, academic resources, international study, and first-year residential life, as well as to improve student safety.

Bolton earned a bachelor's degree in physics and biophysics from Brown University in 1988, a master's degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991, and a doctorate in physics, also from Berkeley, in 1995.

"I want to thank the members of the presidential search committee for their diligence, commitment and passion for this incredibly important task," Longbrake said. "Wooster has been very well served by each of these individuals, and we will reap the benefits of their hard work for many years to come."

In addition to Longbrake and Neagoy, the search committee included trustees Rich Bowers, Jayne Hart Chambers, Jim DeRose, Doon Foster, Karen Lockwood, and Dale Perry; faculty members Angie Bos, Jimmy Noriega, Meagen Pollock, and Debra Shostak; Steve Graff, president of the alumni association; Phil Olsen from the grounds department; Emily Howerton from the Class of 2017; and Laurie Houck, vice president for development. The search committee was aided by consultant Dr. Thomas B. Courtice, managing principal of AGB Search, Inc.

Longbrake has asked Angie Bos, associate professor of political science, and alumni trustee Mike Lauber '80 to serve as co-chairs of a transition committee to support the start of Bolton's presidency.

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.