Shortly after James T. Harris became Widener’s ninth president in 2002, he implemented a strategic planning process involving the entire university community.
Now ten years later, after a new mission, vision, and campus master plan were developed by President Harris and the Widener Board of Trustees, Widener has been recognized for making a difference in the communities in which we live, learn, and work.
- Ranked 19th in the U.S. by the 2011 Newsweek/The Daily Beast school ranking for service that combines public institutions and private liberal arts schools.
- Ranked among the top 100 institutions in the annual Washington Monthly rankings since the magazine’s inaugural college issue in 2005.
- Named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since its inception in 2006. In 2013, Widener was recognized "with distinction" and named a finalist for the Honor Roll Presidential Award -- one of only 14 institutions in the nation to receive that honor.
- Among the first universities in the nation to be classified as a 'community engagement institution’ by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
- Identified as a "Great College to Work For" by The Chronicle of Higher Education and selected as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine for three consecutive years.
- In 2011, Widener was included, along with 17 other colleges and universities, as an example of an exceptional academic institution in the book Leading Change: How Boards and Presidents Build Exceptional Academic Institutions (AGB Press, 2010). The author, Terrence MacTaggart observed: “Today, Widener is prospering. Rather than ignoring the problems of its hometown, [Widener] has found a way to become a positive part of its community….”
It takes a true leader to inspire and promote the kind of positive changes that have occurred in Chester, and on all four of Widener’s campuses, as well as in the surrounding neighborhoods and communities. That is exactly the kind of leadership, citizenship, and commitment to society that we strive to develop in all of our students.