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Lake Forest College Names First Female President, Makes History

Lake Forest College Names First Female President, Makes History

  |     |   Lifestyle

It’s International Women’s History Month!

We are celebrating women by showcasing a momentous occasion for women in education.

Dr. Jill M. Baren has been named Lake Forest College's first female president.

The Board of Trustees has accelerated Lake Forest College's history-making momentum by appointing Dr. Jill M. Baren as the College's first woman president, following a record-breaking year in which the College welcomed its largest incoming class in history.
In July 2022, Jill BarenBaren, the College's fourteenth president, will take over as Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She takes over from President Stephen Schutt, who is stepping down after 21 years at the helm of the College. The College has grown dramatically in terms of student body, facilities, funding, and academic programming during his tenure.


Baren is a prominent academic, physician, and administrator with a strong foundation in the liberal arts and a background in humanism, medical ethics, experiential education, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
"To develop into talented professionals who can address the most daunting challenges that lie ahead, students need a strong foundation that encompasses art appreciation, cultural studies, communication and writing skills, scientific reasoning, critical thinking, and problem solving," she said.


The Presidential Search Committee, which included Lake Forest College trustees, teachers, students, and administrative personnel, unanimously recommended Baren to the Board of Trustees. The search committee, led by Vice Chair William Lowry '84, sought feedback from all College stakeholders and carefully reviewed those proposals in order to direct the nationwide search. The committee worked with Storbeck Search, a national executive search agency, to find and interview highly qualified applicants from a variety of backgrounds.
Lowry stated, "Jill will lead with confidence, sincerity, and an entrepreneurial approach."


"She brings a wealth of leadership expertise to the presidency of Lake Forest College. Her experience in the health professions and academia will not only strengthen our relationship with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, but will also help her to think strategically and contribute fresh ideas to all facets of the College."
Baren comes to Lake Forest College with nearly 30 years of experience in key academic, research, and administrative leadership roles at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of the Sciences. Over the last 15 years, she has co-authored more than 90 scholarly publications and many books in the field of emergency care, as well as secured millions of dollars in funding and grants.


"With its mix of a strong liberal arts history with great career training, Lake Forest College has built a unique brand that places the College as a leader in higher education," she added. "This new and modern approach to a rigorous liberal arts education resonates strongly with me, and the post at Lake Forest College appealed to me immediately." The largest incoming freshmen class in history, as well as recent improvements in state-of-the-art academic buildings and athletic facilities, are evident indicators of expansion and attractiveness. They provide a fantastic platform for advancing Lake Forest College's objectives."

David Gorter '80, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, believes Baren is particularly equipped to head the College.


Gorter stated, "Jill is a well-rounded, vibrant leader whose experience as a college administrator and faculty leader coincides with the College's vision and aspirations."
"She believes that tiny liberal arts schools are one of our country's greatest educational assets, and that our success is inextricably linked to our students' inspirational success." Jill will connect with students frequently and purposefully as our campus leader to learn what is essential to their futures. She'll take the same approach when it comes to building ties with faculty, alumni, staff, and the community."
The selection of Lake Forest College's first female president is the latest in a long line of significant accomplishments that have cemented the college's position as a leading institution of higher learning.

Brown Hall, a historic 1878 classroom structure at the heart of campus that has been refurbished and repurposed into an interdepartmental collaborative learning environment, had its grand opening last autumn. The Lillard Science Center, a $47 million cutting-edge science research and teaching center, had opened two years prior. The Oppenheimer Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a collaborative space for student entrepreneurs in the most popular academic minor on campus, recently opened at the College. Furthermore, Lake Forest College has formed a strategic partnership with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science to develop a joint Health Professions Program that prepares students for careers in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, and all aspects of health care. This is a first among liberal arts colleges.


In the next months, Baren and her family intend to relocate to Lake Forest, Illinois, where she will officially accept the presidency in July.

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