Board of Trustees names Dr. Kathryn McClymond Oglethorpe’s 18th president

The Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees voted unanimously during its fall meeting Nov. 9-10 to approve Dr. Kathryn McClymond as the institution’s 18th president, removing “interim” from her title effective immediately.

“The trustees recognized that Dr. McClymond is the right choice at the right time to lead Oglethorpe,” said Board Chair Tammy Pearson, Oglethorpe class of ’86 and Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Chick-fil-A.

When we went back and looked at the list of qualifications we compiled in previous searches, we realized we already had that candidate, and a national search was not needed.” Kathryn has been a strong and capable leader during the interim, and as a Board, we wanted to continue the positive momentum that she has helped to generate,” Pearson said.

McClymond is Oglethorpe’s first female president. The campus will host a coffee reception in her honor from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Nov. 13, at the Turner Lynch Campus Center. She will address the faculty and staff at 1 p.m., Nov. 16, in a town hall meeting in Lupton Auditorium.

The trustees named McClymond interim president beginning June 3 after the departure of Dr. Nick Ladany, who served as president from July 2020 to June 2023. She originally served Oglethorpe as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs beginning in July 2021.

During the five months of Dr. McClymond’s interim presidency, Oglethorpe has reached its highest total enrollment in its history with 1,529 students, maintained stable finances with a fiscally responsible approach to spending and reconstituted a student success office designed to increase retention and improve student outcomes.

McClymond has repeated an interim message of “steady, focused, forward” as she followed the university’s strategic plan as a roadmap. She engaged with all university constituencies by following a daily regimen of contacting alumni and donors, meeting with students, and attending campus events, communicating transparently with faculty and staff, and advocating for Oglethorpe to the Brookhaven and Atlanta communities and beyond.

“I embraced leading Oglethorpe during the interim and my love for this wonderful institution has grown over this time,” Dr. McClymond said. “I’m sincerely grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the remarkable students, dedicated faculty and staff and the incredibly supportive alumni. I have been inspired by the Oglethorpe community’s bright minds and generous hearts, and I look forward to continuing to put forth my best effort on their behalf.”

As Oglethorpe’s chief academic officer, she was a member of the president’s senior administrative leadership team and led all academic functions of the university, including academic divisions, the Core curriculum, the Philip Weltner Library, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, and the offices of the Registrar, Student Success, and Institutional Effectiveness.

Prior to joining the administration at Oglethorpe, McClymond was associate dean of Faculty Affairs in the College of Arts & Sciences at Georgia State University, where she was a faculty member for 22 years.

She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University. Dr. McClymond is a historian of religions, trained in Hinduism and Judaism, with a research emphasis on comparative religious ritual. Her husband, Dr. Michael Herb, teaches political science at Georgia State University, and they have three adult children.

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