Susan Traverso, Ph.D., was appointed Thiel College’s 20th and first female president on August 1, 2016. Under her leadership, the College has expanded into graduate education, including master’s programs in Physician Assistant, Speech-Language Pathology, and Business Administration.
Successful fundraising and strong financial management over the past five years are supporting more than $15 million in capital improvements in the campus’s academic, athletic, and residential facilities, aligned with a renewed strategic focus on academic excellence and student success.
A recognized leader in higher education, Traverso is active with several national organizations including the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of Governing Boards, and the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education. Traverso serves on the board of Dietrich Foundation in Pittsburgh and is actively involved with the Penn-Northwest Economic Development Corporation. She previously chaired the board of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the board of the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. Before her appointment as president of Thiel College, Traverso served as the Provost/Senior Vice President at Elizabethtown College (Elizabethtown, Pa.) and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Redlands (Redlands, Calif.). A scholar of American social and political history and an expert in U.S. women’s history, she is the author of Welfare Politics in Boston, 1910-1940 (University of Massachusetts Press). Traverso earned her bachelor’s degree in history and communication from Simmons College (Boston), and doctoral and master’s degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The president is the executive head of the College, serving as the official link between the College community and the Board of Trustees and charged with general oversight and direction of the instruction, discipline, co-curricular interests and management of Thiel College. She presides at all public exercises of the College and at meetings of the faculty and administration.
The president addresses the campus community on many occasions, but makes formal remarks at three important academic gatherings each year: Opening Convocation, Honors Convocation and Commencement. Read President Traverso’s remarks below.