Three Women University Presidents Announce Their Retirements

Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington, has announced her plans to retire at the end of the 2024-2025 academic year. She is the university’s first woman, first Latina, and first openly gay person to serve as president. During her nine-year presidency, the university expanded its STEM research capabilities, established new financial aid initiatives, and transitioned to a new athletic conference.

Dr. Cauce’s career at the University of Washington has spanned nearly four decades. She first joined the university in 1986 as an assistant professor of psychology. Throughout her tenure, she rose through the ranks to serve as chair of the American ethnic studies department, chair of the psychology department, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and provost. She became the university’s 33rd president in 2015.

Dr. Cauce is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she double-majored in English and psychology. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology with a concentration in child clinical and community college from Yale University.

S. Georgia Nugen has officially retired from her role as the first woman president of Illinois Wesleyan University. She became the university’s interim president in August 2019, and received her official appointment three months later. Under her leadership, the university experienced significant growth in its academic offerings through the establishment of the School of Business and Economics and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. She also organized the university’s first chief diversity officer position, various residential hall renovations, and partnerships with several community colleges.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Nugen served as president of Kenyon College in Ohio for 10 years. She previously served as assistant to the president, associate president, and dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University. She has also held teaching appointments with Princeton University, Brown University, Cornell University, and Swarthmore College.

Dr. Nugen is a first-generation college graduate, holding a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a doctorate from Cornell University.

Rochelle L. Ford has stepped down from her role as president of Dillard University in Louisiana. Over the past two years, Dr. Ford has overseen the university’s first-ever cohort of graduate nursing students, millions of dollars in fundraising campaigns, and a significant expansion of STEM, business, and social justice programming and initiatives.

Before taking on the Dillard University presidency, Dr. Ford served as dean of the School of Communications at Elon University in North Carolina. She previously served in various academic roles with Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Syracuse University in New York.

Dr. Ford completed her undergraduate education at Howard University, where she studied journalism and public relations. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Maryland and a doctorate in journalism from Southern Illinois University.

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