Nazareth College has announced its next president will be Elizabeth L. Paul, currently president of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
Paul has worked at Capital since 2016. Previously she was chief academic officer at Stetson University in Central Florida.
Paul, the college’s 10th president, will succeed on July 1 Nazareth’s longest-serving president, Daan Braveman, who will retire after 15 years.
Even as they announced on Monday the results of a 10-month search that narrowed the field of 91 applicants to four finalists who visited campus, college officials held information about the process close to their collective vest.
“This individual we selected was the right person at the right time for Nazareth College,” said Timothy Fournier, president of the college’s board of trustees, prior to announcing her name. He and search committee Chairman Brian E. Hickey each made opening remarks before Fournier announced Paul and invited her to walk onto the stage at the Glazer Music Performance Center.
Paul, who uses the nickname “Beth,” entered wearing a dark purple open jacket over a turtleneck in a lighter shade of purple, a nod to Nazareth’s school color.
“What a joy it is to be here,” she said, opting to walk along the edge of the stage as she addressed the audience rather than use the podium. She introduced her family: husband William Ball, a political science professor, who was in the audience, and with the help of a cellphone and FaceTime, her daughters, 23-year-old Martha and 20-year-old Sophie.
Hickey said about Paul, “We knew right away that she understands Nazareth’s mission and our vision for the future. I’m excited to see how Beth’s passion for experiential learning and Nazareth’s belief in educating our students to make a difference in their own world and the world around them will connect with students, faculty, and staff.”
Paul said it was her husband who identified Nazareth as a potential place of employment for her. He came across the college’s job search prospectus online and came to her with the news, saying “’I read it, this is you. This is your job.’”
Later, Paul said, “Nazareth speaks to me in the deepest of ways.” She was drawn to the way it has always moved forward, introduced programs and worked toward solutions.
Braveman said the college’s selection of Paul makes his decision to retire easier, knowing she will take the helm. While he noted the selection is good for Nazareth, he told Paul that Nazareth is the right decision for her, too.
“You are going to find a college that exceeds even your highest expectations,” he said, before presenting her with a gift bag of what he said he hopes is the first in a long line of Nazareth swag.
Capital University is about the same size as Nazareth, Paul said, but includes a law school. During Paul’s tenure there, Capital reunited with Trinity Lutheran Seminary and last year experienced a record entering class. Paul announced in September that she would be leaving, noting she had been brought in as a change agent and had accomplished her goals.
She led Capital’s launch of the Good Guarantee Scholarship to bring college into reach for lower- and middle-income students who plan on careers in public service or the non-profit sector. Both Nazareth and Capital describe her a national education leader, especially in the areas of community engagement and experiential learning.
Paul holds both bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Boston University. She also did a pre-doctoral fellowship with the National Institute of Mental Health and earned a certificate in higher education administration from Harvard Institute for Educational Management.
She started her career as a psychology professor at The College of New Jersey, where she met her husband. Paul was vice provost and professor of psychology at New Jersey, working there from 1992 to 2009.
Nazareth was founded in 1924 as a Catholic college for women. It has had six female presidents; all three male presidents have served since 1971, when the college became a co-education institution. Nazareth no longer has a formal religious affiliation.
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