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President Emerson Will Not Seek Reappointment

After four years as President of Haverford College, Steve Emerson '74 has decided not to seek reappointment and will step down to return to the lab and classroom as a tenured member of Haverford's biology faculty. His term as President will end with a sabbatical year set to begin later this summer when an Interim President is named. The search for the College's 14th president is expected to begin in the fall.

"As I look back on these past four years, I am incredibly proud of the vision we have built together for the College and what we have already accomplished to achieve this mission," he noted in a message to the Haverford community. "In support of this mission, we have expanded our tenure track faculty and doubled the research support for students and faculty. In an era in which the burden of the high cost of liberal arts education has become a national crisis, we at Haverford have sculpted an extraordinary financial aid program that was just recognized in the Washington Post as being one of the twelve best programs in the nation."

Cathy Koshland '72, chair of Haverford's Board of Managers, praised Dr. Emerson for his "tireless dedication to helping the College grow in exciting new directions that nonetheless remain grounded in what is unique and treasured about Haverford." Highlights of his years as President include:

  • Implementation of Haverford's academic blueprint for the future, which calls for 27 new faculty positions. The new minor in Environmental Studies is part of that plan and is also the first academic program to be jointly administered by Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges, whose students can take classes (and major at) one another's institutions.
  • Replacing student loans with outright grants as way of further ensuring that cost should not be a barrier to a Haverford education.
  • Groundbreaking for two new student residences, the College's first since 1968.
  • The discovery and return to France of a long-lost letter authored by philosopher Rene Descartes.
  • Helped Haverford's Annual Fund raise a record $5,071,893.87 this year, up 20% from FY 2007 when he took office.

"When he accepted his alma mater's call to service and became our president," notes Board Co-Vice Chair Howard Lutnick '83, "he had to shift his focus away from a remarkable career as a physician and stem cell biologist. Though he has been able to continue teaching and research on a limited basis, this change represented a huge sacrifice on his part. And so we understand and accept Steve's wish to return to the classroom and laboratory full-time."

His yearlong research sabbatical will begin once an Interim President is named, an appointment that the Board expects to make in the near future.

Chris Norton '80, who is also Co-Vice Chair of the Board and leads a committee charged with stewarding the College's next comprehensive fundraising campaign, expressed appreciation for the groundwork that has been laid for what will be the most ambitious campaign in Haverford history. "Steve sought input from hundreds -- if not thousands -- of people who hold Haverford close to their hearts. Their ideas have helped us craft a campaign that makes sense and feels familiar and yet, in keeping with Steve's spirit, fosters the sort of change and growth that will ensure that the College remains vibrant and relevant. We are grateful for his determination, his ability to promote dialog about the future, and early success in generating support for our campaign priorities."

Adds Koshland, "We're stronger for the work Steve has done and are confident we'll achieve the ambitious goals Steve has helped us set for ourselves. Haverford and Steve Emerson have had a long and immensely beneficial association that goes back decades, to Steve's volunteer work as a young alumnus. His fierce loyalty is a model for us all. We look forward to a new and exciting chapter in our relationship."

Dr. Emerson's message to campus concluded with a note of appreciation. "I thank everyone in the College community for all that you do for Haverford, and for allowing me the opportunity and honor to serve as your President. I wish everyone and their families all the very best for a peaceful and healthy summer and year ahead." His new title will be Professor of Biology.

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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