Bryn Mawr College President Nancy J. Vickers - who has led the prestigious women's college since 1997 - told the college's board of trustees yesterday that she would retire in June 2008.

Vickers, 62, will stay on as president until then largely to finish up an ongoing $225 million fund-raising campaign, which she said was critical if the Main Line college of 1,300 undergraduates is to remain on the academic and technological cutting edge.

"At this stage in the American college presidency, I really think that a 10 or 11 year run is a good arc," Vickers said. "I said when I took the job that I'd do it for about years, and I feel that in 16 months it will be time for a fresh pair of eyes and fresh thinking."

Vickers, who came to Bryn Mawr from the University of Southern California where she was dean of curriculum, said she doesn't know yet what she'll do next, though she does plan to leave campus so as to give the next president "plenty of room."

Vickers' tenure has come during a difficult time for many womens' colleges, as enrollments at many such schools dipped and some were forced to go co-educational to survive.

Bryn Mawr, though, has enjoyed a 40 percent jump in applications since 2001 and the college's endowment has doubled since Vickers arrived in 1997.

In a statement, Hoover Zeckhauser, chair of Bryn Mawr's Board of Trustees, described Vickers as "a visionary academic leader and a forceful defender of the women's college experience."

Contact staff writer Patrick Kerkstra at 215-854-2795 or