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2015 15th President Valerie Smith

From left, Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber, Valerie Smith, Swarthmore Board Chair Thomas Spock '78

Valerie Smith, a distinguished scholar of African-American literature and culture, became the 15th president of Swarthmore College on July 1, 2015. She is the first African-American and second woman to hold the office of president at the College. She also holds tenured appointments in English Literature and Black Studies.

As president, Smith has placed a strong emphasis on ensuring that Swarthmore continues to focus its efforts on access and opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability. She has also worked to build and strengthen relationships between the College and the region and around the world.

Smith received her B.A. cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Bates College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She is the author of more than 40 articles and three books on African-American literature, culture, film, and photography and is the editor or co-editor of seven volumes. Her most recent publications include Toni Morrison: Writing the Moral Imagination; The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (Third edition), edited with Henry Louis Gates Jr.; and Race and Real Estate, edited with Adrienne Brown (forthcoming from Oxford University Press).