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Joanne V. Creighton
Joanne V. Creighton

Joanne V. Creighton, Ph.D., Named Interim President

A distinguished scholar of American literature, past president of a leading liberal arts college, and former interim president of a top tier university, Joanne V. Creighton, Ph.D., is Haverford’s new Interim President. She will hold the office while the College searches for its 14th president, a process that will unfold over the coming year.

“We are absolutely thrilled that she has accepted our call to service,” said Cathy Koshland ’72, Chair of Haverford’s Board of Managers. “And not only have we found an ideal leader for the College, but we’ve achieved an historic first: Haverford's first woman president.”

Dr. Creighton comes to Haverford following a distinguished 14-year presidency at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where she championed transformational change while remaining mindful of Mount Holyoke’s treasured values and history. Faculty expansion, endowment growth, facilities upgrades and a leading role in the education of women worldwide – international students now comprise 20% of Mount Holyoke’s student body – all made for a period of unprecedented, yet thoughtful, change. When she stepped down last year, her faculty lauded her contributions to the college by adopting a resolution that reflected their “respect and affection, the exchange of ideas, the shared hard work, and the common dreams which have fired our imaginations over the past 15 years.”

She has degrees from the University of Wisconsin (B.A.), Harvard University (M.A.), and the University of Michigan (Ph.D.). In addition to serving as interim president at Wesleyan University from 1994-95, where she had also been Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and Professor of English, Dr. Creighton was Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has authored four books and dozens of journal articles and reviews.

“I have long admired Haverford,” said Dr. Creighton, who praised the College for its “intellectual rigor and moral seriousness.” News of the search came as she was well into planning for the next phase of her career, teaching a course called “Following Faulkner” as a Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor at the University of Massachusetts. “The more I learned through the search process, the more I was attracted to the opportunity to be part of what was clearly a powerful learning community and an extraordinary institution.” She succeeds Dr. Stephen G. Emerson ’74, a distinguished stem cell biologist who decided to return to teaching and research following four years as president.

“We are grateful to Dr. Creighton for stepping into this important role at such a crucial time,” noted Board Co-Vice Chair Chris Norton ‘80. “Years of collaborative study have shaped Haverford’s blueprint for its academic future and the related master plan for campus development, and the College is in the very early stages of a comprehensive fundraising campaign that will allow us to realize our shared vision.” Added fellow Co-Vice Chair Howard Lutnick, “We are confident that Joanne Creighton is the right person to lead our College forward. Her combination of scholarship, administrative experience and proven ability to conceptualize, shape, and implement change is truly inspiring.”

Her appointment begins today, and Dr. Creighton plans to be on campus for several days over the next few weeks before beginning full-time duties August 24 when she welcomes members of the Class of 2015 and their families on move-in day.

“My 40-plus-year career in academia has given me a nuanced appreciation of academic culture and of the complexities of institutional governance,” said Dr. Creighton. “My particular strength has been drawing constituents together around core values of the institution and working with them to articulate and realize shared goals. I will draw on that experience at Haverford as we work together to make this a productive and fulfilling transitional year.”

Dr. Creighton, her husband Tom, and dog Maisie will live in One College Circle, the home of Haverford presidents for more than half a century. They look forward to the December wedding of their son, Will, who currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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

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