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– Wendy Cadge appointed as the 10th President of Bryn Mawr College

LOWER MERION – Wendy Cadge, an expert in contemporary American religion and a sociologist, has been chosen by the Board of Trustees at Bryn Mawr College to become the institution’s 10th president, starting on July 1.

Currently serving as the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science and holding the Barbara Mandel Professorship of the Humanistic Social Sciences at Brandeis University, Cadge is the author of three books and over 100 scholarly articles.

During her time at Brandeis, she has focused on enhancing the graduate student experience by revamping and broadening student professional development initiatives, collaborating to bolster degree programs, and promoting the graduate school’s anti-racism strategy. She established Brandeis’ inaugural Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Collaboration to extend research opportunities to all undergraduates, oversaw the Division of Social Sciences, and led the Brandeis Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Program. Additionally, she represented the faculty on the Board of Trustees and led the Faculty Governance Task Force, a three-year program aimed at reinforcing the faculty’s involvement in shared governance.

The distinctive blend of undergraduate liberal arts education for women and coeducational graduate programs at Bryn Mawr appealed to Cadge.

Cadge stated, “I am a firm believer in the transformative power of the liberal arts, which extends beyond the acquisition of a bachelor’s degree. My role in higher education involves bringing together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff to educate, learn, develop, and collaborate.”

She added, “Bryn Mawr’s exceptional dedication to undergraduate and graduate students, academic distinction, and commitment to preparing individuals for purposeful lives motivated my decision to join this institution.” Cynthia Archer ’75, Chair of the Board of Trustees, expressed her confidence in Cadge’s suitability for the role of Bryn Mawr’s next president.

Archer remarked, “Wendy emerged as a standout candidate among a highly talented pool of applicants. She is an innovative scholar, an entrepreneurial thinker, and an outstanding educator whose values and work align seamlessly with Bryn Mawr’s mission. Her sharp intellect, natural collegiality, attentive listening skills, and dynamic energy make her an inspiring choice. I am certain that she will collaborate effectively with our exceptional community to lead Bryn Mawr to new levels of vitality and distinction.”

Ron Liebowitz, President of Brandeis University, commended Cadge’s significant contributions to the institution, stating, “Wendy has left a lasting impact on Brandeis. Beyond her own scholarly achievements, her mentorship of young scholars will endure throughout their careers in academia and beyond. I congratulate Wendy on her appointment and welcome her to the esteemed group of college and university presidents.”

As a public intellectual, Cadge founded the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab in 2018 to promote innovative spiritual care and support provided by chaplains to the public. She frequently collaborates with the media and community partners on related issues. Apart from its academic rigor, Cadge was attracted to Bryn Mawr by its emphasis on equity and inclusion as drivers of excellence and the community’s commitment to mutual support.

Carol Fierke, Provost of Brandeis University, praised Cadge’s leadership qualities, stating, “Many students and faculty members at Brandeis have benefited from Wendy’s guidance in the classroom, in research, and in academic leadership. Her sharp intellect, dedication to students, and administrative acumen will undoubtedly benefit the Bryn Mawr community.”

Established in 1885, Bryn Mawr College is a thriving and diverse liberal arts academic community renowned for its unwavering commitment to academic excellence. As the first women’s college in the United States to offer a Ph.D. program, Bryn Mawr boasts a track record of 96% of undergraduate students either employed or engaged in graduate studies, fellowships, or other professional pursuits. The college has consistently been a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Student Program participants for the past five years and ranks second for research among liberal arts colleges, according to the 2023 Washington Monthly magazine rankings.

The College’s Board of Trustees initiated a nationwide search for Bryn Mawr’s 10th president in May 2023.

The search committee, comprising 16 members of the Bryn Mawr community and one representative from Haverford College Board of Managers, was led by trustee Amy Loftus, ’90, with trustee Cecilia Conrad serving as vice-chair. Since the commencement of the search process, the committee has conducted over 20 inclusive community listening sessions and reviewed more than 400 nominations, with support from executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

Loftus expressed delight in the selection of Wendy Cadge as Bryn Mawr’s 10th President, highlighting her as a bold and innovative leader and scholar deeply committed to excellence among students and faculty, with inclusivity at the core of her values. The committee anticipates Cadge’s leadership in advancing Bryn Mawr’s illustrious history of success.

Vice-chair Conrad expressed gratitude to all those involved in the search process, emphasizing Wendy Cadge’s emergence as the visionary leader for Bryn Mawr’s future.

Adalia Rodriguez, a senior undergraduate student and one of two student members on the search committee, praised Cadge’s collaborative and attentive approach, stating, “Wendy is an incredible listener and collaborator. When it comes to innovation or solving an issue, she will always work with the community to find the best approach, even if she has many of her own ideas. I’m extremely excited to see how Bryn Mawr will be elevated to new heights under her leadership!”

Catherine Conybeare, Faculty Chair and a member of the faculty search committee, described Cadge as an exceptional choice for the presidency, emphasizing her strategic thinking and belief in the transformative power of a liberal arts education.

David Consiglio, a staff representative, commended Cadge’s intellect, creative ideas, and genuine concern for the community, stating, “Wendy Cadge possesses a unique blend of qualities that make her the ideal candidate to lead Bryn Mawr into the future. Her commitment to women’s education and her genuine care for each member of the community are evident. I am thrilled that she will be our next president.”

Cadge will succeed Kim Cassidy, the ninth president of Bryn Mawr, who will conclude her second term in June 2024 after serving 11 years in the role. Following a sabbatical, Cassidy will return to teach within the College’s psychology department faculty.