In June 2010, Jeff Abernathy became the 13th president of Alma College in Alma, Michigan. In addition to his duties as the college’s chief executive officer, he also teaches environmental literature courses for the Alma College English Department.
Dr. Abernathy is a leading authority on important issues in higher education, particularly those faced by small liberal arts colleges, and was an active participant with the Midwestern Alliance for Learning in the Liberal Arts, a consortium of liberal arts colleges that studied student learning and growth.
Dr. Abernathy served as vice president and dean of Augustana College from 2004 until his appointment at Alma. He joined Augustana after serving West Virginia Wesleyan College as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, prior to which he was a faculty member in English at Illinois College, where he also served as associate dean.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Dr. 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.
He is the author of To Hell and Back: Race and Betrayal in the Southern Novel, published by University of Georgia Press in December 2003. The book considers the construction of race in the southern novel and American culture, using Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as archetypal text.
B.A., English, Longwood College
M.A., English, Virginia Commonwealth University
Ph.D., American Literature, University of Florida