Elizabethtown College’s Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Cecilia M. McCormick as the college’s 15th president, following a 10-month national search. She will begin her tenure effective July 1 and will be the first woman at the helm of the 120-year-old institution. She will succeed Carl Strikwerda, who will retire on June 30.
McCormick, a graduate of a liberal arts and professional education, has spent her career focusing on education, advocacy, and service to the community. Currently, McCormick serves as vice provost for academic strategy and special programs at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She was integral to the successful merger of Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University and developed numerous strategic initiatives, including new academic programs, an Institute for Emerging Health Professions, an Honors Institute, and effective academic operations and processes. She has collaborated across the institution in both the creation and implementation of strategic plans and budgeting processes. McCormick also secured school and community partnerships and launched pipeline programs for students in the Philadelphia region to create an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Education with a focus on skills and workforce development for underserved populations.
“It is truly an honor to have been chosen to lead Elizabethtown College, to build on its legacy and accomplishments, and to seek opportunities at a pivotal time in the history of the college. I look forward to working with faculty and staff members, students, administration, alumni and the broader E-Town community to reinvent our vision as a learning institution focused on the educational and personal growth of our students in preparing them for 21st century careers and lives steeped in service,” McCormick said. Previously at Jefferson, McCormick served as the chief of staff for academic affairs and the associate provost for strategic and academic initiatives. At Johns Hopkins University, she was the chief of staff to the senior vice president for finance and administration and chief operating officer.
She also has held myriad positions at Widener University, including serving as executive director in the Office of the President and a member of the President’s Executive Team. McCormick has been celebrated as a champion for students and has taught in the areas of business, law, and leadership for students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
“Cecilia’s experience in both academia and private business along with her collaborative problem-solving skills will guide us through the changing landscape of higher education,” said Robert Dolan, chair of the Elizabethtown College Board of Trustees. “Her dedication to student development makes her an excellent leader for our college.”
“Throughout her career Cecilia has had a remarkable record of success at a variety of high-quality institutions. Those experiences, along with Cecilia’s strong background in strategic planning and finance, will benefit Elizabethtown College immediately,” said Ed Lovelidge, a 1982 graduate of Elizabethtown College who served as Presidential Search Committee chair. “The committee was extremely pleased to recommend Cecilia as our next president.”
McCormick also maintains her license to practice law in Pennsylvania. Her legal experience includes serving as an attorney over a 10-year period with two private law firms in the Philadelphia region. Prior to that, she held the positions of assistant general counsel for Peco Energy and special project manager for The Vanguard Group’s Retirement Resource Center.
McCormick received her bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from St.Joseph’s University, her paralegal certificatefrom Widener University, a law degree from Delaware Law School: Widener University and post-doctoral education from the Institute of Educational Management at Harvard University, Graduate School of Education.
McCormick resides in Ocean City, N.J., with her husband, John. Her family includes three sons; Timothy (and his wife Danielle), Daniel (and his wife Heather), and John, and two grandchildren.
The search was conducted by a Presidential Search Committee with trustee, faculty, staff and alumni representation. Students also played an important role in the search as did Witt/Keiffer, an executive search firm. The committee’s recommendation of McCormick was unanimously ratified by the Board of Trustees and announced on Friday, Jan. 11.