Paul Sniegowski named 21st president of Earlham

Paul Sniegowski headshot 2024

Paul Sniegowski Ph.D., a distinguished biologist and the Stephen A. Levin Family Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, will become the 21st president of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion on Aug. 1. He succeeds Anne M. Houtman, D.Phil., who will retire in July after a successful five-year term as president.

“Earlham has an important and longstanding place within the distinctive liberal arts tradition in the United States. It is a place that brings together a diversity of people to explore ideas, to learn to think and to go out and contribute to the world for good,” Sniegowski says. “Serving that ideal, and serving Earlham’s students and faculty, is why I am so excited to become part of the community.” 

An Indiana native, Sniegowski received his bachelor’s in music from the Indiana University School of Music; an M.A. in biology from Indiana University, Bloomington; and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He joined Penn’s Department of Biology in 1997 after a postdoctoral fellowship at Michigan State University.

Since his appointment as dean in 2017, Sniegowski has been responsible for the direction of Penn’s liberal arts undergraduate curricula, programs and students in academic departments and interdisciplinary programs across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Sniegowski worked closely with faculty members and students in the College and across the university in adapting the College’s teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing consultative faculty committees to plan for online teaching and steering the College’s return to in-person instruction after the pandemic. Under his leadership, the college launched new minors in environmental humanities and data science and has initiated a review of its longstanding general education requirement. 

At Penn, Sniegowski is an advocate for first-generation, low-income (FGLI) students, participating in the establishment of the Penn First Plus Office and launching a student advisory board in 2018 to provide a voice for FGLI students in the College. He also has played a key role in Penn’s five-year grant to support inclusive teaching in the sciences through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence 3 program, serving as project director in the first year of the grant.

Sniegowski’s scientific work focuses on evolutionary and population genetic theory as a framework for understanding genetic mutation rates and mutational phenomena. His research has been supported by the Sloan Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and NASA; he is a co-author on nearly 70 peer-reviewed and other scientific papers, has mentored dozens of graduate, undergraduate and high school students, and is an award-winning teacher. 

Throughout his career, Sniegowski has also maintained an active commitment to outreach and regularly engages with public audiences to promote better understanding of science. He is currently writing a book, Persistence of Error: A Natural History of Mutation, explaining genetic mutation for non-scientists. 

“Paul has been impressive and thoughtful in his excellent career as a faculty member specializing in evolutionary genetics and as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania,” says Earlham Board Chair Tom Thornburg ’84. “He is a strong researcher, a frequently honored teacher, and much appreciated academic leader. His work as a faculty member and leader resonates with Earlham’s mission and Principles and Practices. He and his wife, Gail Kienitz, bring to us the knowledge of recent Earlham parents as well.”

Sniegowski and Kienitz, a former associate professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois, are parents to Ben Kienitz Sniegowski ’23. Their daughter, Emma Kienitz Sniegowski, is a 2018 graduate of Kenyon College. Paul and Gail — along with their Golden Retriever, Willa — look forward to deepening their engagement on campus and in Richmond.

“We are coming to Earlham because we want to be a part of this community,” Sniegowski says. “We want to help make this evermore a place where, once you’re here, you don’t want to leave.”


About Earlham College 

Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion foster 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.

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We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.