Anne F. Harris Named Grinnell’s 14th President
Anne F. Harris, an energetic leader and gifted teacher, was appointed the 14th president of Grinnell College following a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees. The news was shared via video during a virtual gathering on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. President Harris, who succeeds President Raynard S. Kington, joined the College in 2019 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College and was most recently appointed by the Board to serve as acting president.
During her tenure at Grinnell, President Harris has quickly become a trusted and admired member of the College community. Among her many accomplishments, she has worked in partnership with more than 200 faculty members to fulfill Grinnell’s academic mission. She led a number of initiatives to complement the excellence of the College’s academic programs and to enhance the health and well-being of the Grinnell community. She co-directed the College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, supported the development and implementation of a First Year Experience, chaired the search for a chief diversity officer, and oversaw the implementation of a $1 million Mellon Foundation Humanities in Action grant.
“Those Grinnellians who have had the pleasure of meeting and working with Anne already know what a perfect fit she is for the College, especially at a time of unique challenge for our community and our broader society,” said David Maxwell, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Her vision for the College builds on the strong foundation President Kington created during his tenure at Grinnell. Anne’s exceptionally inclusive, consensus-building leadership style and the way in which she has helped the College meet the challenges presented by the pandemic have only enhanced the respect trustees, faculty, staff, and students have for her.”
“It is a profound honor to be elected to serve this institution, which I have come to deeply love over the last year,” said President Harris. “I look forward to building a community that rests on the notion of civic trust — that as we live and learn in community, we each hold one another’s well-being in trust and are bound by a shared commitment to serve the common good both here on campus and out in the wider world.”
Before coming to Grinnell, President Harris spent more than 20 years at DePauw University, serving in faculty leadership roles and eventually as vice president for academic affairs. Throughout her career she has made her mark as an energetic, respected leader, and as a gifted art history scholar, teacher, and mentor. She holds bachelor’s degrees in art history and classical languages from Agnes Scott College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in art history from the University of Chicago. Anne and her husband Michael “Mac” Mackenzie have three children, Oliver, Iris, and Marlo.
What most particularly spoke to the Presidential Search Committee and the Board about Anne’s candidacy was her deep love for Grinnell, her commitment to work with all Grinnellians to address issues with transparency, flexibility, and creativity, and her vision to work toward a better, more inclusive community, said Presidential Search Committee co-chairs Trish Fitzgibbons Anderson ’80 and George Moose ’66.
President Harris’ appointment follows an extensive and rigorous national search process that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, yielded expressions of interest from sitting presidents, provosts, and deans at peer institutions, and resulted in more than 30 multi-round interviews. In addition to the co-chairs, the committee comprised trustee members Shelley Floyd ’72, Julie Gosselink, John Kispert ’85, Jeanne Myerson ’75, W. Edward Senn ’79, Joel Spiegel ’78, and Matthew Welch ’96; faculty members Todd Armstrong, Caleb Elfenbein, Karla Erickson, Lakesia Johnson, and Vida Praitis; and staff member Erika Jack, student member Regina Logan ’20, and alumni member Ryann Haines Cheung ’93. The committee was assisted in its work by Isaacson, Miller.
Visit the President’s webpage to learn more about President Harris, view the virtual video event above, and send messages of congratulations to President Harris via firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the hashtag #Grinnell14th on social media.