6/29/2020 Heidi Hormel

F&M Alumna Harring Named Muhlenberg College President

Kathleen Harring ’80, P’11, was named last week as the 13th president of Muhlenberg College, the first woman to lead the liberal arts institution since its founding in 1848. 

Harring is the latest F&M alumna called to the leadership ranks of higher education. Last year, Wanda Austin ‘75 finished her term as interim president of the University of Southern California, where she was the first woman and the first African American to hold that position.

At Muhlenberg, Harring had been interim president since June 2019, leading the Allentown, Pa., college through a global pandemic that required rapidly adaptable governance.

  • Kathleen Harring '80, P'11 was named president of Muhlenberg College, the first woman to lead the liberal arts school, on Jun 26. Kathleen Harring '80, P'11 was named president of Muhlenberg College, the first woman to lead the liberal arts school, on Jun 26. Image Credit: Muhlenberg College

“While these past months have not been normal by any means, the strength of our college emerged in so many ways. I am excited to take on the challenges and opportunities of this position, to lead with mind and heart and to work with our community to move our institution forward,” she said.

A member of the Muhlenberg faculty since 1984, Harring also served as provost from 2017 to 2019. During her tenure, she was instrumental in guiding a number of important initiatives, including implementing procedures to support diversity initiatives and overseeing development of the integrative learning curriculum.

Her work at Muhlenberg included terms as Department of Psychology chair, as a founding member of the college’s Center for Teaching & Learning, as vice president and dean of institutional effectiveness & planning and as dean of institutional assessment & academic planning. She has been recognized with the Chairman’s Award, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Paul C. Empie Memorial Award for Teaching and Service.

Harring also has developed and led workshops including the Expanding and Welcoming a Diverse Professoriate Conference. She has presented nationally on teaching and learning, outcomes assessment, leadership development and shared governance.

Harring earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franklin & Marshall and her master’s and doctoral degrees in social psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Dr. Wanda Austin delivers the Commencement address at F&M on May 13, 2017. A 1975 graduate, Austin is an engineer who once headed the Aerospace Corp., one of the nation's leading aerospace research centers for defense-related space programs, and recently the University of Southern California. Dr. Wanda Austin delivers the Commencement address at F&M on May 13, 2017. A 1975 graduate, Austin is an engineer who once headed the Aerospace Corp., one of the nation's leading aerospace research centers for defense-related space programs, and recently the University of Southern California. Image Credit: Deb Grove
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