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Dr. Lori S. White Named DePauw University’s First Woman President

Dr. Lori S. White was on Tuesday named DePauw University’s new president. She will be the first woman and the first person of color to lead DePauw, the university said.

White, currently the vice chancellor for student affairs at Washington University in St. Louis, will take charge at DePauw on July 1. According to The Indianapolis Star, she will be the only woman of color leading an Indiana university.

White follows in the illustrious footsteps of her father, the late Dr. Joseph L. White, who in 1961 became the first Black student at Michigan State University to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. The Star says White’s sister, Lisa White, is one of the very few African American female paleontologists in the country.

Dr. Lori WhiteDr. Lori White

White’s is the latest in a string of high profile appointments of minorities to higher education leadership posts.

Last week, George Mason University named Dr. Gregory Washington the institution’s first African American president. Last Wednesday, the University of Pennsylvania announced that Erika H. James will be the first woman dean and the first African American to lead Wharton, its famed business school.

In early February, The City University of New York named Dr. S. David Wu the president of its Baruch College. Wu, who will assume office on July 1, will be the first Asian American leader of a CUNY college. Also last month, Dr. Darryll J. Pines, dean of the University of Maryland engineering school, was named the institution’s next president. In January, Dr. Jonathan Holloway, provost of Northwestern University, was named president of Rutgers University, becoming the New Jersey institution’s first Black leader.

White earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in education administration and policy analysis from Stanford University. She also attended Harvard University’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.

“Throughout her career, Dr. White has brought a student-centered approach to her work and the work of the institutions she has served,” said Kathy Patterson Vrabeck, chair of DePauw’s board of trustees, in a statement. “She understands that the student experience is best served when academics, co-curricular experiences and residential life are considered holistically.”

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