Jeff Abernathy Assumes Alma College Presidency
Jeff Abernathy assumes the presidency as Alma College launches new academic programs, constructs new facilities, acknowledges the receipt of major gifts, and celebrates its 10-year re-accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.
Abernathy’s first day as Alma’s 13th president is June 15. He succeeds Saundra Tracy, who has retired after nine years in the president’s office.
“Alma has had a great run under the leadership of Saundra Tracy,” says Abernathy. “I look forward to meeting and interacting with students as they arrive on campus this fall. I’m also pleased to join an excellent faculty and staff who have made Alma what it is today, and I am eager to get to know alumni and all who love Alma. Together, we will build a vision for Alma’s next 125 years.”
Abernathy anticipates initiating a master plan process this fall to assess the physical growth of the campus, while at the same time launching a strategic planning process. Jeff and his wife, Rebecca Wee, also plan to teach an occasional course.
“Rebecca and I are so excited to be coming to Alma. We love the campus and the community, and we look forward to introducing our children to Alma,” he says.
This fall, Alma College students will have the opportunity to enroll in one of three new majors: biotechnology, environmental science and health administration. Meanwhile, construction of the Art Smith Arena addition to the Hogan Center will finish by August while renovations and work on a new addition to the Eddy Music Building continue. Fund raising continues for both construction projects.
Rebecca, Maren and Rohan at the Highland Festival parade.
Abernathy comes to Alma from Augustana College, where he served six years as vice president and dean of academic affairs. While at Augustana, he was instrumental in the development of the Midwest Alliance for Learning in the Liberal Arts, a consortium of six liberal arts colleges including Alma and Augustana that studies student learning and growth.
Jeff Abernathy, with son Rohan, at last month's Highland Festival.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Abernathy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Longwood College. He earned a master’s degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Florida.
Jeff and Rebecca are the parents of a six-year-old son, Rohan, and one-year-old daughter, Maren.
Posted: Tue, June 15th, 2010 at 8:17AM