Lorraine Sterritt selected as 20th president of Salem Academy and College

Lorraine Sterritt selected as 20th president of Salem Academy and College

May 2, 2014
Dr. Lorraine Sterritt with 2 students

D. E. Lorraine Sterritt will become the next president of Salem Academy and College, the oldest continuously operating educational institution for women in the nation. Her election by the Salem Academy and College Board of Trustees was announced today by Charles A. Blixt, board chair, and Elizabeth Rader, trustee and chair of the Presidential Search Committee. Dr. Sterritt will begin her duties at the helm of the 242-year-old institution on July 1, 2014.

Sterritt, 54, will be the third female president to lead Salem Academy and College, which was founded by the Moravian Church in 1772. She will succeed Susan E. Pauly, who will retire, after eight years as president, on June 30.

“We are delighted to welcome Lorraine Sterritt as our 20th president. She brings a lifelong commitment to student-centered education and preparing future women leaders. Her experiences and values are aligned with our mission to prepare students for a wide range of leadership roles that will contribute to greater good in the world,” said Blixt.

“From our earliest conversations, it was clear that Dr. Sterritt brings the vision, energy, and experiences that will continue to strengthen Salem’s prominence in women’s education and among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and universities,” said Rader.

Rader noted that Sterritt has devoted her career to teaching, scholarship, and administration in support of the liberal arts at both the college and preparatory school levels. Her service at premier educational institutions across the United States has proven her leadership ability across a broad range of academic and administrative areas, and “her passion for scholarship and for student and faculty achievement exemplifies Salem’s highest ideals,” Rader said.

“I am deeply honored to be invited to lead Salem Academy and College, to which I was attracted because of its dedication to the arts and sciences and to building character, grounded in the Moravian tradition of love and respect for all members of the community,” said Sterritt. “I am devoted to the cause of women’s education and especially look forward to leading a community in which people can be known and treasured for who they are and what they can become. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, the faculty, the staff, the students, and the alumnae on the continued enhancement of the curricular and extracurricular programs and the growth of the campus as we prepare the next generation of women leaders for lifelong learning and service.”

“This is an exciting time in the life of Salem Academy and College. Salem has achieved record enrollment and financial stability, and we are pursuing opportunities for campus growth and expansion. To follow strength with strength in leadership is a remarkable opportunity,” said Blixt.

Most recently, Sterritt was the Dean for Administration at Harvard College and a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. From 2010 to 2013 she led the planning and execution of programs for undergraduate education, student life, administration, and finance. That role included responsibility for development, financial planning, information technology, capital facilities planning, and human resources.  She also designed and led the strategic planning process for Harvard College.

Sterritt’s appointment at Harvard followed a succession of professional achievements in teaching and administrative roles at Stanford University (2004-2010), where she was Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, School of Humanities and Sciences, and at the University of Pennsylvania (2000-2004), where she served as Dean of Freshmen and Director of Academic Advising. She also held previous positions at Harvard University (1996-2000) as Assistant and then Associate Dean of Freshmen, and at Princeton University (1991-1996) while a graduate student and Assistant Master of Wilson College. She has taught French literature at Princeton University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University.

Her career of nearly 30 years in education in the U.S. 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 (1985-1991).

Born and raised in a small town in Ireland, Sterritt moved to the U.S. in 1985 after earning her bachelor’s degree and her master’s of arts degree in French at The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. She continued her education at Princeton University, earning a second master’s 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. She has also published on French women writers.


Sterritt will move from Belmont, Massachusetts, to Winston-Salem this summer with her spouse, Norbert (Bert) Lain, a classical scholar who has taught Latin and Greek at both the university and preparatory school levels.


Published on May 2, 2014