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President Wollman

Welcome Dr. Wollman

Honesty, transparency, integrity and empathy: “I really hold onto those four values or beliefs and try to use them in all my decision making,” said Dr. Julie E. Wollman, who began her duties as president of Widener University Jan. 19.

Wollman is the university’s tenth president and its first female leader. And though she already feels at home at Widener, she is eager to learn the “on-the-ground perspective” of individual faculty members, staff members, students, and community members.

She plans to hold listening sessions throughout the spring semester and beyond to better understand the pulse of the university.

“In order to be the best president I can be here, I need to understand this university from all those individual perspectives,” said Wollman, who has worked in higher education for almost 25 years.

Coming to Widener also marks Wollman’s return to Philadelphia, the place where she grew up. She reminisced about Saturday mornings shopping at the Reading Terminal Market and the Italian Market.

Wollman also has a close relationship with the Philadelphia Art Museum, “which is a space I kind of grew up in because my mother was a guide there,” she said.

But what really drew Wollman to Widener was the emphasis on civic engagement, high impact learning, and leadership.

“I really liked the focus on leadership because I think that no matter what students do when they leave the university, the traits that leaders have are going to be very important for them,” she noted.

However, Wollman is quick to brush off the significance of being Widener's first female president, as she also was at Edinboro University.

“My initial response is, it doesn’t matter at all. I should be judged based on what I do in terms of how well I do the job, not whether I’m male or female, or the first female president. I do the job, and my gender is not relevant to that,” she said.

Conversely, Wollman said she understands the importance of being a woman in a leadership position and how she could serve as a role model to young women. But staying connected to the entire student body in general is an overwhelming priority in her new role as president.

“I really need to keep that strong connection,” said Wollman, who started her career as an elementary school teacher. “It keeps you grounded and it’s why we’re here.”