Alumna named new Meredith president

Posted April 18, 2011

— Meredith College has for the first time picked an alumna to lead the women's college, officials said Monday.

Jo Allen, senior vice president and provost at Widener University in Chester, Pa., will take the reins at Meredith on July 1. She succeeds President Maureen Hartford, who announced last year that she planned to retire after 12 years at Meredith.

“This a position I’ve aspired to and prepared for my entire career," Allen, who earned a bachelor's degree from Meredith in 1980, said in a statement. "As an alumna, I know firsthand that Meredith is a special place, one that for more than a century has produced women leaders who have made their mark in education, business, government and, perhaps most importantly, with their families and communities."

Allen said one of her main efforts would be to expand Meredith’s partnerships with business, government and not-for-profit organizations throughout the state and nation.

“She’s a believer in what Meredith is all about,” Sam Ewell, chairman of Meredith's Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “The fact that she’s also an alumna was icing on the cake."

Allen earned a master's degree from East Carolina University and a doctorate from Oklahoma State University. She taught previously at ECU and North Carolina State University.

Meredith is one of the largest women's colleges in the U.S.


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  • BigUNCFan Apr 19, 2011

    It is hard to expect people in this day and age to pay top dollar for a small school like this that does liberal arts. The world needs computer programmers and engineers. Schools like this were set up originally as a finishing school so women could be educated and talk about current events, etc. when their husbands wanted to show them off to business associates and friends. Thankfully those days are gone and schools like this and Peace need to find a mission. I am sure they do good work but I have a hard time justifying paying 2 to 3 times the tuition of UNC or State when they have similar offerings or better and more of them. I guess the selling point is that you are in a small environment with women only and more one on one. Still, though, at some point you have to face the big world full of diversity and men and cannot be sheltered.

    To each their own, I suppose.

  • cookec Apr 18, 2011

    As an alum, I am so very pleased and excited for Dr. Allen to take the reigns at MC!!

  • texasncgirl Apr 18, 2011

    As a current 23+ part time student there...I sure hope that she will help with creating more (and much better) programs and accommodations for 23+ students who work full time. I've been very discouraged as of late with the lack of opportunity for those that work.

  • britt9347 Apr 18, 2011

    As an Alum of Meredith, I am very excited with this choice!