The unconventional journey of the first black female college president

By The Bharat Express News


When she takes office in July, Robin Holmes-Sullivan will be the first black woman to serve as president of Lewis & Clark College in its 155-year history.

It’s rare for women of color to make it to the presidency, but it’s even more unusual for them to take a non-traditional path, as Holmes-Sullivan did. With multiple degrees in clinical psychology, she began her career as a clinical coordinator at the University of Oregon Counseling Center and rose to vice president for student life. She then served as vice president of student affairs at the University of California, before becoming vice president of student life and dean of students at Lewis & Clark in Oregon. (Only 7% of female presidents have reached their positions by any route other than rising through the faculty ranks, according to a recent report by the Eos Foundation.)

It was not Holmes-Sullivan’s goal to run an institution of higher education until she began working on a college campus as a counselor. It was during this time that she realized that she had a propensity for leadership and administration.

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