Lori Varlotta is departing the presidency of Hiram College in Ohio and becoming president of California Lutheran University, the college announced Tuesday.
Varlotta is slated to step down from Hiram, where she was the first woman president, effective Sept. 30. She’s been president of the private liberal arts college since July 2014. The college counted fundraising and curriculum changes among her accomplishments.
She’s been an advocate for what she describes as “the new liberal arts” model, a redesign combining “contemporary and classic majors,” emphasizing interdisciplinary learning, using technology and guaranteeing students experiential learning opportunities. The process stoked anxiety among some faculty members and students, particularly as Hiram navigated a tight budget situation, but it was an example of a trend among liberal arts institutions to try to adapt to student demands and a changing higher education market.
Varlotta will be the first woman president in Cal Lutheran’s 61-year history, according to the Pacific Coast Business Times.
“Dr. Varlotta’s vision and leadership, coupled by her determination and tenacity, have resulted in significant and positive change,” Dean Scarborough, chair of Hiram’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “It has been a pleasure working with Dr. Varlotta, and we wish her the best as she joins California Lutheran University.”