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Wilson College President Announces Retirement in 2011

Posted: May 25, 2010

5/25/2010 Dr. Lorna Duphiney Edmundson, president of Wilson College, has announced her plans to retire next year, effective June 30, 2011, marking 10 years as Wilson’s President and four decades in higher education leadership. Edmundson is Wilson’s 21st president.
DATE: May 25, 2010
CONTACT: Cathy Mentzer
Manager of Media Relations
Phone: 717-264-4141, Ext. 3178

Lorna Duphiney Edmundson Will Leave Legacy of Innovation and Growth

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Dr. Lorna Duphiney Edmundson, president of Wilson College, has announced her plans to retire next year, effective June 30, 2011, marking 10 years as Wilson’s president and four decades in higher education leadership. Edmundson is Wilson’s 18th president.

In accepting her announcement on behalf of the Board of Trustees, board chair Trudi Warner Blair, a Wilson 1976 graduate, expressed gratitude for Edmundson’s “tireless commitment to the college’s cherished goals and traditions.”

“This is a moment of both pride and sadness for the college – pride in all that has been accomplished during her presidency, and sadness in the departure of such an inspiring leader and devoted friend,” Blair said.

"It is a deep honor to serve as Wilson’s president and I know I will miss this community of remarkable faculty, staff, alumnae and students, but I believe it is the right time for me to retire from full-time higher education leadership,” said Edmundson.

Edmundson said she still finds work at Wilson “immensely rewarding,” but is eager to pursue other opportunities that include integrating previous work as a Fulbright Research Scholar in Japan with her growing professional interests in the Middle East, North Africa and China; devoting more time to several boards and organizations on which she already serves, particularly, the Educational Scholarship Committee of the New York and International Women’s Forums; and spending more time with her husband, daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren.

With the announcement of her retirement, President Edmundson leaves Wilson with a valuable legacy of innovation and growth. During Edmundson’s tenure, she led Wilson in completing and implementing its first comprehensive strategic plan that resulted in:

Greatly strengthening the college’s financial situation by doubling the endowment, diversifying investments, developing additional revenue streams, creating operational efficiencies and establishing a successful grants and foundations program.
Launching the Leading with Confidence campaign that has already yielded $42 million towards the $45 million goal.
Improving national rankings and public visibility of the college, including recognition for nine consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report in its "America’s Best Colleges" issue as a “Top Tier” and “Best Value” college and in 2009, ranked Wilson seventh in the North among colleges offering bachelor’s degrees.
Distinguishing the college as an institution that fosters confidence and transforms lives; sends high numbers of students to graduate school, especially in the sciences; offers high-quality programs for adult degree students, single women raising children and women students from many nations; and prepares students for global citizenship and environmental stewardship.
Launching a major science initiative, including the Wilson Institute for Science, Mathematics and Technology and the new the new Harry R. Brooks Complex for Science, Mathematics and Technology – Wilson’s first new building in 45 years and the first gold LEED-certified building in Franklin County.
Strengthening and expanding undergraduate programs and establishing the college’s first graduate programs.
Increasing the numbers of full-time faculty and strengthened staffing and compensation college-wide.
Wilson joining the American Colleges and Universities Presidential Climate Commitment as a founding signatory, promising that Wilson will work towards carbon neutrality.
Launching Wilson’s Global Citizenship Initiative, which prepares students for cross-cultural understanding and effective stewardship on global issues.
Greatly increasing the numbers of international partnerships in South Korea and expanding them to Saudi Arabia, Japan, and China.

Edmundson’s tireless advocacy for Wilson and its mission through invited speeches abroad, visits with foundation leaders, presentations at professional conferences and meetings with groups of alumnae throughout the nation has resulted in greatly increased resources and many more friends and donors who will help ensure Wilson’s future.

Before coming to Wilson in 2001, Edmundson served as president of Trinity College of Vermont, the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges and the Vermont Chapter of the International Women’s Forum. She held senior leadership positions at the American University in Paris; Columbia University’s Teachers College, School of General Studies; and Columbia College, Marymount College and Colby-Sawyer College. She lived and studied in France, Algeria and Japan.

Edmundson is a graduate of Columbia University’s Teachers College, Columbia’s Graduate School of Business’s Executive Program in Accounting and Finance, Boston College and Rhode Island College. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum, Rotary International, the Worldwide Women’s Education Network and the Council of Europe’s International Higher Education Network. In addition, Edmundson has served on the boards of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, Norwich University, Pennsylvania Campus Compact, Tuition Inc., the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Women’s College Coalition.

Blair thanked Edmundson for her hard work and commitment during her years at Wilson. She also praised Edmundson for assembling a high-caliber senior team. "We very much look forward to continuing to work with them and the college’s very dedicated faculty as we continue to move Wilson forward,” said Blair.

Wilson’s Board will organize a “careful, deliberate and thorough search” for Edmundson’s successor, according to Blair. The Presidential Search Committee will be chaired by John Gibb, vice chair of the Board of Trustees. A presidential transition team will also ensure the college’s successful completion of current fundraising goals, and that it continues to work on challenging financial issues facing the college and develops a transition plan for the next president, Blair said.

With plans to accomplish much more before her departure, Edmundson believes the timing of her retirement is right for Wilson and looks forward to a final year of advancing the college’s mission and greatly surpassing the $45 million campaign goal.

“As soon as the new president is appointed, I will work closely with her and the transition committee to maintain Wilson’s forward momentum and create a strong, seamless transition for the Wilson community,” Edmundson said.

Blair said Wilson will continue to build on Edmundson’s successes and is confident that the college will complete the search and name a new president before June 30, 2011.

Wilson College is an independent college with a proud history of educating women since 1869 through rigorous study of the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Wilson’s mission also includes women and men enrolled in adult degree and graduate programs. Guided by the Honor Principle and distinguished by its commitment to transformative student growth, Wilson College prepares all of its graduates for fulfilling lives and professions, ethical leadership, and humane stewardship of our communities and our world.

Wilson offers 30 fields of study at the baccalaureate level and a master’s degree in education. Total enrollment for the current year stands at 838 in both the College for Women and the Adult Degree Programs, and includes students from 20 states and 18 foreign countries.

Last Updated: June 30, 2011