In Memoriam: Claire A. Van Ummersen, 1935-2021

Claire A. Van Ummersen, the former president of Cleveland State University in Ohio, died in an automobile crash in Needham, Massachusetts, on September 29. She was 86 years old.

A Massachusetts native, Dr. Van Ummersen was a graduate of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where she majored in biology. She went on to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in biology at Tufts University. Her research at the time focused on the effects of microwave radiation on the human body.

Dr. Van Ummersen joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1968. She taught there for 14 years and also served as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and interim chancellor.

After serving for five years on the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education, Dr. Van Ummersen was appointed chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire in 1986. She served in that role for six years.

In 1993, Dr. Ummersen was appointed president of Cleveland State University. She was the first woman to hold the position and served in that post until 2001. “Dr. Van Ummersen was an outstanding academic leader who played a critical role in Cleveland State University’s development and growth,” said the university’s current president Harlan Sands.

Later in her career, Dr. Ummersen was vice president and director of the Office of Women in Higher Education and vice president for the Effective Leadership Program at the American Council of Education.

Filed Under: In Memoriam

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