Centenary provost Dr. Jenifer K. Ward named president of Luther College in Iowa

Dr. Jenifer K. Ward

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Jenifer K. Ward, provost and dean of the college at Centenary since June 2014, has been named the 11th president of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Ward will take up her new leadership position at the Iowa liberal arts college on July 1, 2019.

“The Luther College presidency is such well-deserved recognition of Jenifer’s inspiring leadership and her passion for articulating the transformative power of a liberal arts education,” said Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman. “Jenifer and I have enjoyed a wonderful collaborative working relationship, and it has been my distinct pleasure to have her as a colleague at Centenary. I know that our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners will share my sadness at her departure from this campus. We all wish her well and are excited to follow her leadership at Luther.”

Ward was chosen to lead Luther College after a nationwide search. She will be the third sitting president of a selective liberal arts college to have served as a senior administrator at Centenary, joining former provost Dr. Darrel Colson of Wartburg College and former vice president for advancement Dr. Katherine Fell of the University of Findlay.

“We are proud that our colleagues nationally have recognized the strong leadership at Centenary and the opportunities for professional growth we provide,” said Holoman.

“Throughout her extraordinary career, Dr. Jenifer K. Ward has excelled as a teacher, scholar, administrator, and remarkable storyteller,” said J. Robert Paulson, Jr., vice chair of the Luther College board of regents and chair of the presidential search committee. “Jenifer is a visionary and passionate leader who has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to effectively lead transformational change with an inclusive and collaborative style that builds relationships and inspires and motivates her colleagues across campus to achieve a shared vision. In today’s world where higher education and global societies are rapidly evolving, she is an authentic and servant leader who is committed to the enduring value of a Luther education. We are honored and excited to welcome Dr. Ward as the 11th President of Luther College.”

Ward came to Centenary from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where she served as dean of the college. She is a graduate of Hendrix College in Arkansas and holds a Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures from Vanderbilt University. Prior to her tenure at Cornish College of the Arts, she was chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. She has also held faculty positions at Rhodes College and the College of Wooster.

“When I came to Centenary, I sensed a match between its history and culture and my own readiness to contribute to the advancement of this kind of college—the kind I had been formed by and believe in,” said Ward. “Serving as provost here, among supportive colleagues committed to liberal arts education, and in a world that needs the kind of graduates Centenary fosters, has prepared me so well for this next step. I have been amazed and humbled by the great work of those in my office, by my faculty and staff colleagues, and by our students. I am especially proud to have contributed to the hiring of the new generation of Centenary faculty. It is a diverse and formidable group, and I look forward to following their success and the evolution of this great college. Forward, Centenary!”


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