President Kathy Murray announced in a community-wide email Monday morning her plans to retire from Whitman in June 2022.
Murray had planned to use the final years of her contract — through the 2024-2025 academic year — to strengthen Whitman’s financial footing in the face of mounting financial challenges facing colleges like Whitman across the country.
“[But] COVID has accelerated many things,” Murray wrote, “including the timeline for our financial sustainability work, which must be accomplished over the course of this year and next.”
President Murray says she will spend her remaining 16 months implementing the financial sustainability review and using fundraising to invest in the college’s liberal arts mission for the modern student.
“The Board and I will implement the plan developed out of the financial sustainability review, reallocating the college’s resources to the places we need them most,” Murray wrote. “And I will push forward fundraising efforts that will bring new resources to Whitman, so we can invest in promising new ideas and initiatives that will strengthen us financially, keep our liberal arts mission at the core of our work and ensure our education is relevant for students today and into the future.”
President Murray’s announcement comes as the Whitman community processes the financial review’s cost-cutting and enrollment-increasing recommendations, which some believe jeopardize the liberal arts character and mission of the institution.
In a message attached to President Murray’s community-wide email, Nancy Serrurier, Chair of the Board of Trustees, thanked President Murray for her six years of leadership and highlighted Murray’s achievements.
“Kathy has grown the college’s fundraising, inspiring $105 million in gifts and commitments to advance the college’s mission since the beginning of her presidency. This philanthropy allowed the college to increase financial aid by 50 percent during her time at Whitman, and build Cleveland Commons and Stanton Hall,” Serrurier wrote. “Increasing Whitman’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has also been a priority during Kathy’s presidency, during which Whitman has enrolled the most diverse student body in college history.”