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Davidson President Quillen Announces She Will Step Down at the End of the Academic Year

by | Aug 4, 2021

Davidson College president Carol Quillen at commencement in 2019.


Davidson College president Carol Quillen made the following announcement to the community Wednesday afternoon. You can read a longer story or watch a video on the Davidson website.

To the Davidson Community,

I write today to share with you my decision that academic year 2021-22 will be my final year as president of Davidson.

Serving in this role and working with you all is an extraordinary gift. I’m grateful beyond words for the opportunities I have had over the past decade to share in your aspirations and accomplishments.

I love what I do and I love Davidson—and at the same time there is a natural course to a presidency. When I was hired, the Chair of the Board asked me to imagine a 10-year time horizon (the president’s appointment at Davidson is renewed annually). That seemed right to me and I’ve been contemplating the timing of this decision to step down for the past few years. 2021-22 is my eleventh year. My head and heart tell me that this is the time.

Davidson has been a great college for a long time and it has been a privilege to build on that foundation. Thanks to each of you, much of what we set out to do together is well underway or completed. Davidson has new and renovated facilities, an even more beautiful campus, expanded, second-to-none curricular and co-curricular programs, Division I athletics done right, a robust endowment and an ever-stronger student applicant pool. The recent campaign far exceeded its goals. We’ve recruited singularly talented people to join us in every division. As a campus, we’re seeking to build a genuinely inclusive community of learning that honors the dignity of each person and that commits itself to an unfettered quest for truth. I’m humbled and proud to be a part of these efforts.

Davidson and this community have become home. After a sabbatical year in 2022-23, I plan to return to Davidson as a professor of history. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with our amazing students alongside amazing colleagues, and to return to research and writing. Thank you for the joy of working with you.

Eleven years ago, I was introduced to Davidson through a 19-member search committee who could not have been more different one from another. What’s more, none of these individuals fit neatly into the stark categories that can sometimes shape our interactions. All were committed to Davidson, all sought with rare humility to live up to the values we as a community strive to uphold. Through them I saw Davidson as a place that could bring out who each of us is called to be. I recognize and am thankful to that group for the leap of faith they took in hiring me.

Serving as Davidson’s president has been far and away the greatest gift of my professional life. We have an exciting year ahead, one that will be filled with unexpected opportunities and likely some distinct challenges. I look forward to working with all of you as we reconnect as a community in pursuit of our primary purpose and highest aspirations.

I thank you from my heart for all that you do for Davidson and for what each of you has given me.

In gratitude,


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