Two Women Presidents Announce They Are Stepping Down From Their Posts in 2024

Sylvia M. Burwell, president of American University in Washington, D.C., will step down from her post at the end of the 2023-24 academic year. She was Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama and did not wait long to find a new job. Six days after President Obama left office, Burwell was named the fifteenth president and first woman president of American University.

“For our children’s entire life, my work has been 24/7,” Burwell said. “So they have no concept of anything other than weekends and nights being the way we lead our lives. We want a change in lifestyle for at least some time. So they can experience something different and we can experience something different.”

Before becoming Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2014, Burwell was director of the Office of Management and Budget. In the Clinton administration, she served as deputy chief of staff to the president and as chief of staff for the Secretary of the Treasury. In between her terms in public service, Burwell was president of the Walmart Foundation and chief operating officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Burwell will remain at the university as a distinguished lecturer at the university’s Sine Institute of Policy and Politics.

Burrell is a graduate of Harvard University. She earned a degree in philosophy, policy, and economics as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in England.

Vinita Sauder, president of Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, has announced that she will retire at the end of the 2023-24 academic year.

“I am excited to begin a new phase of my life after 40 years in higher education,” said Dr. Sauder. “It’s been a joy to be part of the transformational difference that education makes in students’ lives. I’ve enjoyed working with an incredible team of board members, faculty, and staff. Now it’s time to finish writing the screenplay I started years ago, spend more time with my five grandchildren, and do some traveling with my husband.”

As the twenty-ninth president and first woman president, Dr. Sauder has led the private educational institution since July 2014. Operated by the Mid-America Union of Seventh-day Adventists, the college opened its doors in 1891. Today, it enrolls about 700 students. Women make up 60 percent of the student body.

Before being named president of Union College, Dr. Sauder served as vice president for strategic initiatives at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. She joined that university’s faculty in 1983 and taught in the School of Business and Management.

Dr. Sauder is a graduate of Southern Adventist University, where she majored in journalism. She holds an MBA from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and a doctorate in leadership from the School of Education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

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