Dr. Julie E. Wollman, the tenth president of Widener University, is a passionate, fearless, and effective advocate and leader in higher education.
Biography of Dr. Julie E. Wollman, President, Widener University
Dr. Julie E. Wollman is a passionate, effective advocate and leader for higher education. She is the tenth president of Widener University, a role she assumed in January of 2016. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, she has articulated a clear vision and distinct goals for the university focused on providing an unparalleled learning experience.
Leading with enthusiasm, authenticity, and strong respect for others, Dr. Wollman is nationally recognized for her commitment to building community and bringing people from varying perspectives together. In 2017, Dr. Wollman launched Common Ground, an initiative designed to encourage reasoned, respectful discourse on challenging topics. The Common Ground project continues to garner national attention as a model for campus dialogue.
In 2019 Dr. Wollman designed an innovative approach to strategy development. The approach improves upon traditional strategic planning by using scenarios to envision various futures and focusing on strategic direction rather than elaborate plans that may quickly become outdated in times of accelerated change. The process has been recognized nationally as an emerging best practice.
Dr. Wollman serves on the boards of local, regional, and national organizations, including the Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County, an economic development organization, where she serves as Board Vice-President; the Global Philadelphia Association; the Middle Atlantic Conference of the NCAA where she serves as Board Secretary; the Baldwin School; the American Association of University Administrators; the Crozer Health system; and the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia where she chairs the Regional College and University President’s Alliance.
As chair of the President’s Alliance she has led a project to unite the many member institutions, in partnership with local business and industry leaders, to advocate for the value of higher education as a public good and an economic imperative to ensure a thriving region and strong, healthy communities.
Prior to joining Widener University, Dr. Wollman served as president of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She has held academic leadership positions at Wheelock College, Worcester State University, and Rhode Island College, where she began her career as a faculty member. She earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard University, a master of science degree at the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctor of philosophy degree at New York University.
Dr. Wollman is a frequent commentator and dynamic speaker on education-related public policy issues, on higher education access and affordability, and on leadership, appearing regularly in print, online, and broadcast media outlets. She is the recipient of numerous teaching, academic, and professional awards and recognitions. She was named by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a “2017 Women of Distinction” and one of its “People to Watch for 2018,” as well as one of Main Line Today magazine’s 2017 “Women on the Move.” In 2019 she was recognized as a prominent education leader by Authority Magazine. A lifelong educator and advocate for the transformative power of education, she regularly teaches courses to incarcerated individuals.
A national search is underway by Widener University's Board of Trustees to find the institution's 11th president.