Oberlin College's new president: Carmen Ambar is the first African-American to lead the school

Posted at 11:22 AM, May 30, 2017

Oberlin College has a new president: She is Carmen Ambar, former president of Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Penn.

Ambar is the 15th person to hold the position as president, succeeding Marvin Krislov who served at the helm for a decade. Krislov announced earlier this year that he accepted a new role as president of Pace University in New York City.

In its 184-year history, Ambar is Oberlin's first  African-American president. The search committee vetted more than 150 applicants for the job. 

Oberlin College prides itself on a history of diversity and social justice. Two years after its founding in 1833, the school began admitting students of all races, becoming the first college in the United States to do so.

A press release from the college says Ambar’s values align closely with Oberlin’s mission.

“Oberlin is a singular institution in American higher education, with an historic commitment to social justice, academic and musical excellence, and the liberal arts,” Ambar said at her introduction event on May 30. “I look forward to my work with Oberlin’s faculty, staff, students, board, and alumni to think creatively and collaboratively together. I am humbled to be joining this institution and excited about the opportunity to lead it into its next era.”

About Carmen Ambar:

  • served as the 13th president of Cedar Crest College since 2008
  • previously vice president and dean of Douglass College at Rutgers University 
  • served as assistant dean of graduate education at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University
  • is an attorney

“I'm incredibly excited to work with Carmen Ambar as Oberlin's next president,” said Chris Canavan ’84, Chair-Elect of Oberlin’s Board of Trustees. “Her life story, her academic achievements, her devotion to the liberal arts and her love of music make her the very embodiment of Oberlin. Under her leadership, I'm confident that Oberlin can advance with the times without losing sight of who we are.”