Kathy W. Humphrey, PhD
11TH PRESIDENT OF CARLOW UNIVERSITY

What attracted you to Carlow University?

What attracted me most is what I would imagine draws the attention of others in our University community: Carlow’s mission. Throughout my career, I have wholeheartedly believed in student-centered instruction that offers transformational education opportunities. This is a strong means to reach a diverse community of learners who are empowered to excel in their field with compassion and responsibility. Striving for a more just and merciful world has been a mainstay of my work in higher education. There is no greater joy for me than making a difference in a student’s life and opening new paths.

As a Catholic university rooted in the values of the Sisters of Mercy, how do you envision serving and advancing Carlow’s mission into the future?

Education is central to the mission of the Sisters of Mercy. The right education has long served as a spring board to a better, more stable life. As times change, so too do the pathways to a better life. Carlow must continue to modernize and adapt to meet people where they are in life and to forge new avenues to assist them. Through this, we not only honor the Sisters of Mercy, but also their objective of assisting those who need help the most.

Carlow has a long-held fidelity to social justice and has a strong commitment to antiracism, accessibility, diversity, equity and inclusion. How do you see yourself supporting this essential aspect of our identity?

I have long been dedicated to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of my professional and personal life. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a diversity educator for many universities and other organizations around the country.

In my more recent roles, I have worked tirelessly to recruit and retain underrepresented faculty, staff and students. But increasing diversity is not enough. It’s also vital that Carlow University continues to foster an inclusive environment where all feel respected and valued.

What’s important for the Carlow community to know about President Kathy W. Humphrey?

I am called to do this work, and I will let nothing stop me from making a difference in the lives of students, faculty and staff. My faith serves as the cornerstone of my life. I’m an active member in my church and am devoted to my family. I have been married for 36 years. My husband and I served as foster parents for many years until we adopted our two sons. My extended family is very important to me. I am from a larger family, and I was a first-generation, Pell-eligible, college student. I have 11 siblings and a total of 92 nieces and nephews.

How are you prepared to support Carlow’s academic excellence, enrollment growth and student retention goals?

Our university’s academic excellence is rooted in fantastic core values that have withstood the test of time, I fully intend on continuing to engage in strategies that enhance faculty development, support critical research endeavors, and develop service and experiential learning opportunities, which give our students a tangible advantage in their career development.

Building upon our heritage of excellence and innovation, it is imperative that the University continues to offer distinctive, world-class liberal arts education that not only allows our students to achieve, but to excel academically. We must offer them exceptional preparation for in-demand careers so that they are well prepared to compete in today’s global workforce, ultimately poised to become both leaders and role models for the next generation. A highly proficient workforce is essential to economic strength, and Carlow must continue to prepare highly qualified graduates who can contribute to the vitality of our region and beyond.

What do you see as the priorities that will drive us forward, particularly within this increasingly competitive higher education landscape?

A priority for me is to ensure that a Carlow education is the best investment our students will ever make. It would be misguided for us to continue to conduct business as usual, especially when emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutions of higher education are forever changed and, as such, we must reenvision the residential campus to ensure it will meet the needs of the modern student experience.

Technology affords us ample opportunity to personalize each student’s educational experience. It is my greatest hope that Carlow will continue to evaluate the elements of our degree offerings and decide if our current offerings align with our new realities.

Partnerships and community integration are vital to fulfilling the University’s mission. Could you share with us a few highlights from your work within the Pittsburgh region?

Government and community relations have been central to my work. To ensure that these types of efforts avoid stagnation, I have maintained constant and consistent connections with local and state lawmakers, school district personnel, for-profit and nonprofit leaders, and community organizers. These treasured partnerships ultimately enhance Pittsburgh’s growth and development. The community has had a role in this development, and Carlow must continue to work together with our neighbors.

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