Lafayette Selects Its First Female President

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, January 18, 2013

Lafayette College has named Alison R. Byerly as its 17th president, making her the first woman to lead the liberal arts institution in Easton, Pa.

“A visionary leader, she has broad experience and a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities for undergraduate colleges now and in the future,” Edward W. Ahart, the head of Lafayette’s board of trustees, said in a statement. “She has a collaborative, open, and communicative style and brings great passion and humor in addition to enormous energy and enthusiasm.”

The incoming president has served as a leader at Middlebury College in Vermont for 13 years, most recently as a provost and an executive vice president. She currently has an interdisciplinary faculty appointment at Middlebury and has been a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford and Oxford.

Ms. Byerly is known as a leading national authority on education in the digital age, including the emergence of massively open online courses, or MOOCs. A Pennsylvania native, Ms. Byerly earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in English at Wellesley College in Massachusetts; she went on to earn her master’s degree and doctorate in English at the University of Pennsylvania.

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