Nancy A. Roseman inaugurated as Dickinson's 28th president

by Tony Moore
September 28, 2013

Delegates representing 63 U.S. and international colleges and universities filed down High Street toward Old West, and hundreds of attendees streamed through every entrance to the lawn of the John Dickinson campus today, as the community gathered for the inauguration of Nancy A. Roseman as Dickinson’s 28th president.

In her opening remarks, Jennifer Ward Reynolds ’77, chair of the Board of Trustees, noted Roseman’s desire to be a part of the Dickinson community and its rich history. “She didn’t want to be president of a college,” she said. “She wanted to be president of this college.”

Roseman is the first female president in the college’s 230-year history, and generations of Dickinsonians in town for Homecoming & Family Weekend attended the ceremony en mass. Also on hand to see Roseman’s inauguration were friends and family from across the country and around the globe, including her parents, Gwen and Leonard Roseman.

“It’s very special for a parent to be a witness to an occasion like this,” said Leonard Roseman.

President Roseman’s mentor and longtime friend Morton Schapiro, president of Northwestern University, delivered remarks, touting the significant place the liberal-arts education holds in modern society.

“We provide a product that’s never been more in demand, never had a higher economic and social return and never has been more important for the world’s future,” he said. “If there was a time for bold presidential leadership in higher education, Nancy, it is now and it is you.”

Amy Farrell, the John J. Curley ’60 and Ann Conser Curley ’63 Faculty Chair in the Liberal Arts, represented the faculty and touted Roseman as a valuable ally in advancing Dickinson’s scholarly agenda, saying, “We share a great passion for our teaching, our scholarship and the intellectual vibrancy of this institution.”

In his remarks, William Nelligan ’14, president of Dickinson’s Student Senate, said he was “inspired and awed” by Roseman when he first spoke with her and has remained so ever since.

“She is a scholar who knows that the issues affecting our world today ... demand robust interdisciplinary approaches,” he said and, addressing Roseman directly, concluded, “On behalf of the entire student body, congratulations, and welcome home.”

Opening her inauguration address, Roseman told attendees, “This is an extraordinary community, working together with common purpose, united in this enterprise of educating generation after generation of young people in the liberal arts.”

And her personal message was as clear as peals from the Denny Bell: That 230-year-old common purpose remains unshaken, and the college’s mission diligently addresses the needs of tomorrow.

“Dickinson … fully embraces diversity in every form,” Roseman said. “[We are] a college that purposefully reflects society and the world, so as to better prepare students for that world, a college that proudly cites developing cultural competency as one of its core missions.”

In “a world full of complexity and difference,” Roseman sees Dickinson as an institution that serves as a steady wellspring of knowledge, multifarious perspectives and unambiguous focus, all of which position the college perfectly for the future.

“We are an institution that has much clarity in its philosophy and in its priorities,” she said. “Our model is sound. Our product is sound and needed now more than ever.”