Five Women Who Have Announced Their Intentions to Retire From High-Level Posts in the Academic World

Wendy Libby, president of Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, has announced she will retire next year. During her 10-year career, undergraduate enrollment grew by about 1,000 students, football returned to the school after a 57-year absence, several facilities were renovated, and the university’s endowment more than doubled. Before coming to Stetson in 2009, Dr. Libby served as president of Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, for six years.

Dr. Libby holds a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Connecticut.

Susan Welch, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Pennsylvania State university, will retire on June 30, 2019 after 28 years at the helm of the college. As a professor of political science, she specializes in American politics, particularly urban, ethnic, and women’s politics. Her current research interests include women as congressional candidates and Black-White relations in multi-cultural settings. She is the author or co-author of six books including Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools (University of Michigan Press, 1998).

Dr. Welch holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Catherine Murray-Rust, dean of libraries at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has announced she will retire in the summer of 2020. She has served as dean of libraries since 2008. During her tenure as dean, Georgia Tech has taken steps to innovate the library services model to one that is actively engaged with faculty and students in research and learning. Additionally, she has guided the creation of the shared collection and Library Service Center with Emory University.

Murray-Rust is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she double-majored in political science and history. She holds a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of London.

Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, New York, has announced she will retire in August 2019. Under her leadership, LaGuardia experienced a 64 percent of increase in enrollment of degree-seeking students, a 155 percent increase in enrollment of non-credit students, and a 6 percentage point increase in graduation rates over the past five years. Additionally, the community college has established over 50 academic majors, invested significantly in faculty development, raised more than $23 million through the LaGuardia Community College Foundation, received over $150 million in external grants, and established partnerships with numerous businesses and nonprofits.

Dr. Mellow holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University at Albany and a Ph.D. in social psychology from George Washington University.

Peggy Bradford, president of Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Illinois, has announced she will retire in June 2019. She has served as president for the past two years. Her appointment made her the first woman and first African-American to lead the community college. During her tenure, the college established permanent extension centers in Cairo and Vienna.

Dr. Bradford holds a bachelor’s degree in counseling and administration and a master’s degree in administration and community development from Southern Illinois University, a juris doctorate in corporate and business planning law from the University of Iowa, and a doctorate in higher education administration from Northern Illinois University.

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