Valerie Smith Named the 15th President of Swarthmore College

smithValerie Smith, dean of the college and the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature at Princeton University, was named as the 15th president of Swarthmore College, the highly rated liberal arts educational institution in suburban Philadelphia. She will take office on July 1.

Giles Kemp, chair of the board of managers at Swarthmore said that “Valerie Smith is a respected scholar and a wise, effective leader with impressive accomplishments that closely align with Swarthmore’s values: access and affordability, dynamic undergraduate learning opportunities, and educating students to be leaders who value the common good. Her colleagues consistently praise her judgment, integrity, and commitment to making a liberal arts education accessible to all students.”

Professor Smith first joined the Princeton faculty in 1980 as instructor in English. She was awarded tenure in 1986. Dr. Smith left Princeton in 1989 to join the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. She returned to Princeton in 2001 and a year later was named chair of the African American studies program. Dr. Smith was named dean in 2011.

Dr. Smith is a graduate of Bates College in Maine and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She is the author or editor of several books including Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings (Routledge, 1998) and Self-Discovery and Authority in Afro-American Narrative (Harvard University Press, 1987).

Below is a video of Dr. Smith addressing the Swarthmore community following the announcement of her appointment on February 21.


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