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Meredith President Announces Plans to Retire in 2011

Hartford to Conclude Her Tenure After 12 Years of Service

Meredith College President Maureen A. Hartford announced to the Meredith community today, February 8, 2010, that she will conclude her tenure as president of the Southeast’s largest women’s college in June 2011, after 12 years of service.

Hartford, the first woman president of Meredith, was named president on February 26, 1999, and officially assumed the duties of that position on July 1, 1999.

Hartford said her decision to announce her intentions 18 months in advance is strategic as she has specific goals she intends to achieve prior to her retirement.

“In the next year and a half, we will have developed Meredith’s next strategic plan, strengthened the College’s financial position, and completed our reaffirmation of accreditation work with SACS,” Hartford said. “This 18-month window gives me the opportunity to finish these initiatives while allowing the board to thoughtfully plan for a presidential transition.”

Hartford said the decision about when to end her tenure at Meredith was an emotional one.

“I am more professionally, personally, and emotionally tied to Meredith than to any place in my life. It has been a joy to serve Meredith – especially Meredith students and alumnae. I have no doubt that Meredith will continue to be a wonderful place for women to learn, work and grow into strong, confident, liberally-educated individuals.”

According to Elizabeth Triplett Beam, ’72, chair of the Meredith College Board of Trustees, the board intends to begin a national search for Meredith’s next president in the fall of 2010.

Hartford’s Commitment to Women’s Leadership, Impact on Meredith
During her tenure as president, Hartford has led efforts to strengthen Meredith’s academic offerings, expand and enhance Meredith’s campus facilities, improve the diversity of Meredith’s student body, and increase Meredith’s endowment.

Beam said, “Over the past 11 years, President Hartford has had a dramatic impact on the face of Meredith. Not only has she enhanced the physical look of the campus, she has also enhanced the look of the leadership at Meredith. Dr. Hartford's commitment to women’s leadership is evident from the student body to the board of trustees. Thanks to her, women have increasingly more opportunities to lead, guide and influence at Meredith, in their workplaces and communities.”

Hartford has led a number of efforts to equip Meredith graduates for success in fields where women have historically been underrepresented. In 2001, she established the Meredith Technology Initiative, which provides every full-time, first-year student with a laptop. Earlier this year, the College became one of only two women’s colleges in the world with a business school accredited by AACSB International, the leading accrediting body for business programs.

New degree programs established during Hartford’s tenure include a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Science in Nutrition and an engineering dual-degree program with North Carolina State University.

Expansions to Meredith’s campus during Hartford’s presidency include the construction of a $21 million, 80,000 square foot Science and Mathematics Building, new student apartments that can house up to 252 residents, and an athletic field and track complex.

During her presidency, Meredith’s enrollment and fundraising successes include the College’s largest-ever freshman class in the Fall of 2009 and endowment that has grown from $52.8 million in 1999 to a high of $88.2 million at the end of The Campaign for Meredith, the college’s most successful fundraising campaign..

Hartford has also championed efforts to prepare Meredith graduates as global citizens and leaders. In 2009, the College opened its first international site in Sansepolcro, Italy. Her support of study abroad has resulted in an increase in the number of students who study abroad. In 2009, 31% of Meredith’s graduating class had studied abroad, compared with 7.7% for the class of 2001.

About President Maureen Hartford
Hartford has more than 30 years of experience in higher education. Her husband, Jay Hartford, who retired as senior director of corporate and foundation relations at the University of Michigan, has served as a committed Meredith College volunteer throughout her presidency.

Prior to her arrival at Meredith, Hartford was vice president for student affairs at the University of Michigan. A native of Charlotte, N.C., holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Master of Arts in College Teaching at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her doctorate in higher education administration is from the University of Arkansas.

For more information about President Hartford’s career and accomplishments, visit

Founded in 1891, Meredith College is a four-year, comprehensive college for women. Meredith offers coeducational graduate degrees in business, nutrition and education.

Date Submitted: 2010-02-08

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