Guilford College names first female president

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Courtesy photo
Jane Fernandes (courtesy photo)

Guilford College announced this afternoon that Jane Fernandes, the provost at UNC Asheville, will be the college’s next president. Fernandes, who is deaf, will be the first woman to head the school.

Outgoing President Kent Chabotar, who is retiring after 12 years, was the first non-Quaker president of the college. The alumni association is hosting a celebration to honor him on May 5.

Students and faculty have criticized his tenure in recent weeks. Some students posted signs around campus directed at the three finalists to replace him — all women — about whether they would be willing to take on issues including pay disparities and anti-racism initiatives. According to a few people at Guilford, Fernandes was a faculty and student favorite in addition to being selected by the board.

The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY announced yesterday that Carolyn Stefanco, one of Guilford College’s three finalists, will be Saint Rose’s new president instead.

According to Guilford College, Fernandes served as a senior fellow at Bennett College’s Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity & Inclusion Institute from 2007- 2011.

“I am honored and humbled because I feel called to Guilford,” Fernandes said in the school’s announcement. “During my campus visit last spring, I felt a deep sense of belonging which was only strengthened the more I learned about Guilford’s mission, core values, Quaker heritage and commitment to students and inclusiveness.”

Read Guilford College’s full press release here.