Welcome Dr. Stacey Robertson, Widener's Next President

Mary Allen, Director of Communications
Graphic design image "Our University's 11th President" with photo of mace

Widener University has named Stacey Robertson, PhD, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at the State University of New York at Geneseo, as the 11th president of the university. An accomplished leader with impressive experience in strategic planning, hiring practices that support and promote candidates from under-represented groups, and developing curriculum that prepares students for success in a global workspace, Robertson will assume the presidency July 1.

“To say that it is an honor and a joy to be selected for this position is a tremendous understatement,” Robertson said. “I am looking forward to working with everyone in the Widener community to continue elevating the university’s outstanding reputation, moving its mission forward, and preparing students for successful careers.”  

Stacey Robertson Headshot Photo, Widener University's 11th President
Stacey Robertson, PhD


She will succeed Julie E. Wollman, PhD, who is retiring from the Widener presidency to serve as professor of practice in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Robertson has spent the last five years at Geneseo, where she is also a professor of history. Prior to that, she served as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington from 2015 to 2017, and as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Bradley University from 2012 to 2014. She was also the Oglesby Professor of American Heritage at Bradley, where her career included serving as chair of the History Department from 2008 to 2012 and as director of the Women’s Studies program for 18 years prior to that.

The Widener Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of Robertson’s appointment after the university conducted a national search led by Board of Trustees Vice Chair James J. Mack ‘85. Board Chair Paul Beideman ’79 introduced Robertson to the Widener community after making the announcement, and  explained that her effectiveness as a leader, her listening style, and her warm demeanor were viewed as tremendous assets. She is the kind of leader who brings people together with a collaborative energy for impacting change, and accomplishing goals. The board carefully weighed feedback from everyone who met with Robertson through the search process, he said. 

“We also took a deep, introspective look at the tremendous opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Widener as we contemplated the best candidate to lead our great university,” Beideman said. “We are confident we have recruited and selected an outstanding leader.”

He highlighted Robertson’s numerous professional accomplishments at Geneseo, including her work: 

  • Leading the university’s Strategic Planning Group, which included successful completion of the institution’s five-year plan, with revisions to Geneseo’s mission and values.
  • Leading a curriculum redesign work group resulting in “A Geneseo Education for a Connected World” – the university’s first full-scale curricular revision in more than 30 years.
  • Implementing a new, entirely remote, January intersession that increased Geneseo’s course offerings by 350% over three years.
  • Creating a learning community on diversity in faculty hiring that lead to substantial increases in hires of faculty from historically underrepresented groups.
  • Implementing changes to the Academic Affairs budget process that increased equity and transparency in revenue distribution.

Robertson spoke to hundreds of Widener students and employees who gathered remotely for the live announcement, and shared that it is the university’s people who make it an exceptional place.

This is a caring, compassionate, determined, innovative and remarkably talented community" — Stacey Robertson  

She noted the university’s serious commitment to its values and mission were also impressive.

“These are not dusty statements on a shelf. Every single day, the whole community lives into its commitment to empower our ‘community of learners to discover and create better futures,’” she said. “As your next president, I am committed to you – all members of the extended Widener community including our alumni, our friends, and our neighbors – and to building on the superb foundation that you have created.”

Robertson earned a PhD in history with an emphasis in women’s studies, from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1994 and a bachelor of arts degree in social history and social movements from Whittier College in Whittier, California in 1987. She has two sons and is married to J. Stephen Smith.

Watch the Announcement Video

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