Earlham College President Anne Houtman, the College’s 20th president and first woman to lead the institution, will retire at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year.
“Serving as Earlham’s president has been the most significant honor and joy of my career,” Houtman said in a letter sent to the campus community on Monday, Oct. 16.
“I feel very proud of all that we have accomplished at Earlham, and am confident that Earlham is in a better place now than when I arrived. I am certain that Earlham will be able to bring in a very strong 21st president in large measure because of all the hard work we have accomplished together over these years.”
Houtman’s tenure included the historic launch of the “For Good” campaign, which has raised nearly $85 million and is the most ambitious fundraising effort in the College’s history. The campaign is supporting Houtman’s strategic priorities, including widening the path to an Earlham education, expanding the Epic Journey, the College’s signature student success program, and elevating the student experience.
Through the launch of the Epic Journey, Earlham students now benefit from a comprehensive, personal framework for personal development, vocational discernment and post-graduate success. The journey combines the College’s nationally recognized classroom experience with ample opportunities to participate in funded internships, research experiences and off-campus study. Additional international travel and career-discernment opportunities for student-athletes and first-generation students are also features of the program.
“Serving as Earlham’s president has been the most significant honor and joy of my career.”— Earlham President Anne Houtman
In collaboration with faculty and her senior leadership team, Houtman expanded the curriculum by launching new majors in accounting and engineering, data science, social services, creative writing, public policy, media and communications, and four new concentrations in computer science. A new softball program, and the construction of a new stadium is also underway, with the inaugural season slated for this coming spring.
New scholarships and degree pathways were also established to support the enrollment of students living within a 150-mile radius of campus. They include the INspire Earlham program, a tuition waiver for Indiana students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds, and a transfer agreement for graduates of Ivy Tech Community College.
“We are grateful that Anne will leave the College in a better place than she found it, with a solid and clearly articulated plan to move the College forward,” said Tom Thornburg, chair of the Earlham Board of Trustees. “We know she, her leadership team, and the Earlham community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni will work hard toward the goals Anne has set out for Earlham in her remaining nine months at Earlham.”
Earlham’s Board of Trustees will start a search for a new president to succeed Houtman in the coming weeks.
Houtman plans to remain in the area during retirement and resume scholarly projects she put on hold when she assumed the presidency in 2019.
“I will be working as your full-time president at the same pace as I have throughout my time at Earlham; right up until my last day, I will be advancing our shared goals and priorities,” Houtman said. “We have made measurable progress on this journey, and still we have a long way to go. I say ‘we’ because I will always be an Earlhamite. Every time I say ‘the world needs more Earlhamites,’ I feel it deeply in my heart and soul. This is important work we are doing in challenging times.”
Since 1847, Earlham College has fostered a collaborative learning community that inspires and motivates students with transformative opportunities and experiences so they can become catalysts for good in a changing world. Located in Richmond, Indiana, Earlham is one of U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 national liberal arts colleges and offers one of the top 20 classroom experiences in the nation, according to the Princeton Review.