Additional reporting by David King
Haverford College announced today in a campus-wide email that Wendy Raymond will serve as the next president of the college. Raymond currently is the vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Davidson College, where she has worked since 2013. Raymond’s appointment will be effective on July 1, 2019.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the whole Haverford community to continue to make this a preeminent small liberal arts college whose students make an incredible impact on the world,” Raymond said. “That’s what you already do, and I simply want to help continue that and then lift it up – go in directions that we haven’t yet been able to go.”
Raymond, who will become Haverford’s 16th president, graduated from Cornell University with a degree in chemistry and earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University. She was a professor at Williams College for 19 years, teaching courses in biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, and genetics.
“Wendy Raymond is the ideal leader to build on Haverford’s current momentum and ensure that the Haverford education continues to deliver immense value in the future to our graduates and to the communities they serve,” said Rick White ’81, chair of Haverford’s Board of Managers, in a statement.
Though the presidential search process was mostly closed, many students expressed that they wanted the committee to appoint someone whose background and experience highlighted an interest in diversity. Raymond, who will be the first woman to hold the presidency permanently, was also the associate dean for institutional diversity at Williams College and is the chief diversity officer at Davidson College. She said that she aims to address issues such as inclusion and affordability at Haverford.
The Presidential Search Committee, which was formed last spring, was composed of students, staff, faculty, members of the Board of Managers, and a representative from Bryn Mawr College. The search kicked off with a few open forums last semester for community members to share how they wanted the next president to move the college forward. As the 10 month search comes to a close, those involved in the process said that they are excited about everything that Raymond brings to Haverford.
“Wendy is an inspirational, driven leader with a high EQ. She clearly understands the challenges that Haverford faces as well as the culture and strengths of our institution,” said Emily Lin ‘20, one of the two student representatives on the committee. “Her career is remarkable not only regarding her scholarship but also her commitment to and achievements regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity. I am so excited to have her as our next President!”
Students at Haverford had a chance to meet Raymond at an event in VCAM this afternoon. After short remarks from President Kim Benston and White, the incoming president introduced herself to the staff, faculty, and students who had gathered to meet her.
“I am so incredibly honored and privileged and humbled by being here with you in this community that I think is unlike any other in the nation because of all that each of you invests in Haverford,” Raymond said to those in attendance. “And I am so thankful to you for extending this invitation to me and I look forward to joining you.” She added that her husband is a Haverford alum from the Class of 1982, and that she has been “drawn to Haverford for a really long time.”
Raymond also held a meet-and-greet with students in the Dining Center (D.C.) later in the evening. As students sat down to eat, she introduced herself to students sitting in the right wing of the D.C.
Students expressed excitement at the nomination of Raymond, given her position as a scholar and her work in diversity. “As a woman in STEM, in chemistry, I am just really encouraged by my peers, a bunch of whom are women in STEM, and by the new president,” said Victoria Merino ‘20. “Also as an international student and a POC, STEM gets to be really rough and really grinds you down. Seeing someone in a position of president, having that background, just makes your opportunities seem endless.”
Raymond follows President Kim Benston, who has served in the position since 2015. Benston was originally appointed for two years and extended his term for another two years in 2017. After four years leading the college, Benston plans to return to teaching.
The Clerk will provide continuing coverage of this announcement.
Photo courtesy of Cole Sansom.