Dr. Valerie Smith Installed as First Black President of Swarthmore College

Valerie Smith, announced as the fifteenth president of Swarthmore College by the Board of Managers on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Swarthmore, Pa. (Laurence Kesterson / staff photographer)

This weekend, Swarthmore College celebrates the inauguration of Valerie Smith at their 15th president. Smith is the first African American and the second woman to hold the position.

Smith, a Brooklyn native, is a graduate of Bates College  and holds a doctorate from the University of Virginia. She is a scholar of African American literature and culture.

Smith moved to Swarthmore from her post as Dean of College at Princeton University.

Of Swarthmore’s 1,500 students, 6 percent are African American, while whites make up 43 percent of the student body.

CBS Philly reports:

She says her top priorities will be recruiting a diverse student body and ensuring their success, investing in curriculum, faculty and facilities, and building relationships with other area institutions. The college has had its issues with diversity with the number of African American students hovering around five percent.

Smith has been in the position since July 1, but today’s activities will make her role official with guests including family, friends, and delegates from universities across the country.


credit – forharriet.com