After 184 Years, Oberlin College Names Its First Black President

Cedar Crest College President Carmen Twillie Ambar is leaving to become president of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio. 
(MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO)

After 184 years, Oberlin College announced that its first African American leader would be a woman.

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Carmen Twillie Ambar will become Oberlin's 15th president and the first African American woman to lead the institution. Ambar currently serves as president of Cedar Crest College, a position she has held since 2008, increasing endowment by almost 92%, launching 18 new academic programs, and increasing enrollment--Cedar Crest will welcome its largest freshman class since 2007. Under her leadership, the diversity of Cedar Crest's student body increased from 16% to 38%, with the highest increases in Hispanic and African American students.

President Ambar was selected from 150 applicants, not just for her excellent work ethic, but for her overall efforts. "President Ambar has a record of recognizing and embracing the importance of participatory governance, knowing that the community is integral to an institution's trajectory,” said Jeremy Poe, a member of the Presidential Search Committee. “She understands both the challenges of equitable access to education and the equity disparities students face after matriculating...I'm excited to see and be a part of what Oberlin is able to do under her leadership, and I know other students will be similarly excited."

"She's clear-eyed and tough-minded, honest and smart, and she believes passionately in the transformative power and social impact of what we do," said Jennifer Bryan, am Associate Professor of English. I think she's really inspiring, and I'm confident that she's going to be a powerful voice for Oberlin's mission and values.”

“I look forward to my work with Oberlin’s faculty, staff, students, board, and alumni to think creatively and collaboratively together," the new president said. "I am humbled to be joining this institution and excited about the opportunity to lead it into its next era.”

She'll join Oberlin's campus full time starting in September.

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Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at mymommyvents.com.

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