On Monday, August 14, 2023, a mass email was distributed to all students and staff at Meredith College announcing the retirement plans of Meredith’s 8th president, Dr. Jo Allen, effective at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year.
President Allen is an alumna of the college having graduated in 1980 and is the first alumna president of the college. Dr. Allen has served as president for the last twelve years, having taken on the role in July 2011. Dr. Allen noted that the support across campus since her announcement has “affirmed what a terrific community Meredith is” and that she has received support from classmates, the Board of Trustees and many others.
While Dr. Allen addressed that her retirement announcement is “bittersweet,” she has many fond memories that she recounts. President Allen said that she remembers her “first move-in weekend with rainbow balloons and pots and pans clanging, the first raid at the President’s house for Corn’ week, and [her] first time signing diplomas.” Additionally, Dr. Allen gave thanks to Meredith’s “responsive donors” during her presidency and all the renovations she oversaw. One particular standout was the “so-kind notes from alumna/i, retiring faculty and staff, graduating students and their parents as their time at Meredith was coming to a close.”
Looking to the future President, Dr. Allen said that she hopes the next president will have “the same calling to advance the quality of life and status for [Meredith] students throughout higher education and our local, national, and global communities.” She acknowledged the ongoing challenges facing higher education and said she believes that the next President will leave a “distinctive mark” on the college.
Whilst discussing her hopes for the future President, Dr. Allen also looked back on what she will miss most. She said that she will miss the students and “talking with them around campus, at ballgames or just in passing or in BDH.” President Allen has also enjoyed watching Meredith students progress into leaders that are “confident, poised, spirited [and] professional…” Adding to this, President Allen shared that she will miss the faculty and staff alike.
No further updates have yet been given about the election year process or any possible candidates. The Herald reached out to Liliana Madrid, Meredith’s DEI co-ordinator, to learn more about the process, but Madrid was out of office at the time.
By Shae-Lynn Henderson, EIC, and Miriya Carson, Contributing Writer
Photo provided on behalf of President Allen