The First African American President of Oberlin College in Ohio

Oberlin College in Ohio, founded 184 years ago, has a long history of educating African American students. Before the Civil War, fugitive slaves were provided sanctuary on campus.

But throughout its long history, Oberlin has never had an African American president. That will all change in September when Carmen Twillie Ambar will become the college’s 15th president. Today, Oberlin College enrolls about 2,900 students. African Americans make up 5 percent of the student body.

In accepting the appointment as Oberlin’s next president, Dr. Ambar said, “Oberlin is a singular institution in American higher education, with a historic commitment to social justice, academic and musical excellence, and the liberal arts. I look forward to my work with Oberlin’s faculty, staff, students, board, and alumni to think creatively and collaboratively together. I am humbled to be joining this institution and excited about the opportunity to lead it into its next era.”

Since 2008, Dr. Ambar has been serving as president of Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She is widely regarded as having done a remarkable job leading the woman’s college. The college’s endowment has increased 92 percent during her tenure and 18 new academic programs have been added. She has produced a budget surplus over the past three years and enrollments have grown in six of the past seven years. This fall, Cedar Crest College will enroll its largest entering class in the past decade. Her revolutionary “Sophomore Expedition” takes the entire second-year class on a study abroad trip.

Before being named president of Cedar Crest College, Dr. Amber was dean of Douglass College at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She was the youngest dean in university history. Earlier, she was the assistant dean at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, President Ambar is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She earned a master’s degree in public affairs at Princeton University and a juris doctorate at Columbia Law School.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Federal Report Uncovers Lack of Faculty Diversity and Delay in Federal Discrimination Complaint Processing

In addition to a lack of diversity in higher education faculty, the report revealed a frequent delay by the Department of Education when referring discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Christopher Span Appointed Dean of Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

Dr. Span, professor of education policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois, is a scholar of African American educational history. He has experience in both academic and administrative leadership positions.

Lingering Mistrust From Tuskegee Syphilis Study Connected to COVID-19 Vaccine Reluctance

African Americans who lived within 750 miles of Tuskegee, Alabama, were more reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than their White neighbors, as well as Black Americans from other United States regions. The authors attribute this finding to lingering mistrust of public health services as a result of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study which ran from the 1930s to 1972.

Clayton State University Selects Corrie Fountain to Serve as Interim Provost

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve at Clayton State in this interim capacity, and I hope that my contributions will aid in the success of its students, faculty and staff," said Dr. Fountain, currently the associate provost for faculty affairs at Georgia State University.

Featured Jobs