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Swarthmore names female president

Associated Press / February 23, 2009
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SWARTHMORE, Pa. - Swarthmore College has named Rebecca Chopp as its new president, making her the first woman to hold the position in the elite liberal-arts school's 145-year history.

Chopp, president of Colgate University since 2002, was selected by Swarthmore's board of managers on Saturday.

She succeeds Alfred Bloom, Swarthmore's president since 1991, who announced in May that he would step down. He is becoming vice chancellor of New York University Abu Dhabi.

Bloom has been credited with revitalizing Swarthmore's honors program, broadening its multicultural curriculum, expanding foreign study, and renovating and building academic buildings.

"Succeeding Al Bloom is a daunting prospect," said Tom Spock, a Swarthmore alumnus who chaired the 12-member presidential search committee, "But [Chopp's] deep commitment to the liberal arts, along with her proven administrative talents, make her the ideal president to move the college forward."

Chopp, 56, a scholar of religion and American culture, has written or edited five books and has published more than 50 articles in her areas of expertise.

Colgate said that during Chopp's tenure as president, admission applications and alumni giving sharply rose. The university's two-year-old fund-raising campaign has raised more than $300 million.

Swarthmore, founded by Quakers in 1864, has about 1,500 undergraduate students. It was one of the country's first coeducational colleges.

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