Bryn Mawr College president to step down

Jane Dammen McAuliffe, President of Bryn Mawr College, in front of Taylor Hall where the president's, dean's and other administrative offices are located. ( Sharon Gekoski-Kimmel / Staff Photographer

Another week, another surprising announcement about college presidencies in the Philadelphia region.

Bryn Mawr College’s board of trustees just announced that President Jane McAuliffe will step down June 30.

She has led the college since 2008.

The board plans to appoint an interim president for the 2013-14 academic year, while the college conducts a national search, officials said.

The college did not explain in its press release why McAuliffe is leaving. I will be asking.

In a letter to those in the Bryn Mawr community, McAuliffe wrote: "...I have conferred with the Board of Trustees and will conclude my presidency at the end of this academic year."

She also wrote: "In the life of any institution there are natural times for leadership change."

Of her immediate plans, she wrote that she plans to reflect and recharge and finish a book, she said.

In a press release, McAuliffe said: “I am extremely proud to have served the Bryn Mawr College community as its president for the last five years. It has been an honor to be a part of this vibrant academic institution. In working together with our unparalleled faculty, staff and students, I am gratified by all that we have been able to accomplish in promoting and advancing the College's goals and commitment to higher-learning. As each one of us advances on our path ahead, I look forward to witnessing what the many talented and exceptionally bright individuals inspired by Bryn Mawr will bring to the world around them.”

The college also issued a statement from Arlene Joy Gibson, chair of the board of trustees.

“Jane McAuliffe has played a significant role in raising Bryn Mawr's profile nationally and internationally, while at the same time supporting the College's curricular innovations and collaborations with other premier academic institutions. During her tenure, Bryn Mawr launched interdisciplinary 360 courses (a new experience that engages several aspects of a topic or theme to provide a range of perspectives across disciplines), made important advances in digital initiatives within the classroom, and introduced new majors reflective of our students' evolving interests. We've also continued to emphasize global connections, including establishing and enhancing partnerships with a broader community in order to provide students and faculty with internship and scholarship opportunities around the world. In short, with Jane's support, Bryn Mawr has continued to be a pioneering force in modern academia."

Gibson also said in the statement: "We are thankful for Dr. McAuliffe's contributions to the College, and wish her all the best in her future endeavors. At the same time, we are eager to identify the right individual to guide Bryn Mawr on its exciting road ahead and continue to execute and refine Bryn Mawr's strategic plan for the future. We expect a seamless transition as the Board conducts a rigorous and thorough search for its ninth President and look forward to continued engagement and input from the full Bryn Mawr community. I know I speak for the entire Board of Trustees and many others in our community when I express my excitement for all that Bryn Mawr has accomplished and what lies ahead."

Bryn Mawr, a women’s college, serves about 1,300 students. It also has 400 students in a co-ed graduate programs.

Last week, Arcadia University terminated its president, Carl "Tobey" Oxholm III.