D. E. Lorraine Sterritt is the twentieth president of Salem Academy and College, which was founded by the Moravian Church in 1772 and is the oldest continuously operating educational institution for women in the nation.
Born and raised in Ireland, Dr. Sterritt moved to the United States in 1985 after earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in French at The Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. She continued her education at Princeton University, earning a second master of arts degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in French. Her deep interest in women writers led her to write her doctoral dissertation on the life and works of Louise Labé, the first sixteenth-century female poet of low birth to be published in her lifetime. Dr. Sterritt has also published on other French women writers.
Dr. Sterritt’s career of nearly thirty years in education in the United States began at Chatham Hall, an all-girls college-preparatory boarding school located in Chatham, Virginia, where she was Director of School and also taught French and Latin (1985—91). From 1991 to 1996 Dr. Sterritt studied at Princeton University, where she also served as Assistant Master of Wilson College. In 1996 she moved to Harvard University, where she was Associate Dean of Freshmen, and then to the University of Pennsylvania, where she served as the Dean of Freshmen and as the Director of Academic Advising. From 2004 to 2010 she served in administrative and teaching roles at Stanford University, where she was the Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies for the School of Humanities and Sciences. Prior to her appointment at Salem Academy and College, Dr. Sterritt was the Dean for Administration at Harvard College and a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.
Dr. Sterritt assumed the presidency on July 1, 2014. A spirit of optimism and renewal has continued to energize the campus and the Salem alumnae community. Both the Academy and the College began the 2014—15 academic year with a twelve-percent increase in enrollment. The College enrolled 201 first-year students in the fall of 2014—the largest incoming class in its history. Renovations and new construction at both the Academy and the College are helping to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the study of the sciences and mathematics and to accommodate Salem’s increasing enrollments. Across the United States and around the world, Salem’s more than 15,000 alumnae are serving as teachers, physicians, researchers, artists, musicians, inventors, community volunteers, and business executives. Dr. Sterritt is at the helm of all of this activity as she leads Salem Academy and College to the forefront of women’s education in the United States.