Anne E. McCall inaugurated as 13th President of The College of Wooster

President McCall was presented with the key to Old Main at inauguration as a symbol of her authority and the continuity of Wooster’s mission and heritage.

Inaugurated as the 13th President of The College of Wooster in the Scot Center on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, President Anne E. McCall shared gratitude and inspiring words in her inaugural address to the College community. As part of the formal induction, Sally Staley, chair of the College Board of Trustees, recognized President McCall’s “dedication to academic freedom, her commitment to inclusive excellence, and her clear understanding of the challenges facing higher education.”

“Dr. McCall is passionately committed to the liberal arts and an inspiring advocate for expanding access to higher education for all who desire it,” said Staley. Accepting her pledge of fidelity, Staley presented McCall with the key to Old Main, pulled from the ashes of the main academic building of the College that burned to the ground in 1901 and brought forward Saturday morning by Jaylin Hudson ’24, president of Scot Council; Carly Jones, assistant director of the Academic Resource Center and secretary of the Staff Committee; and Jennifer Bowen, dean for curriculum and academic engagement.

“It is our honor as representatives of the students, faculty, and staff, to mark the inauguration of President McCall as a historic moment in the 157-year history of The College of Wooster community,” said Hudson. The key, Bowen added, “bent by the heat of the fire but unbroken, is presented to the president at inauguration as a symbol of her authority and the continuity of Wooster’s mission and heritage.” The theme of acknowledging lessons from history was carried throughout the ceremony, which is available to view at wooster.edu/inauguration.

“Benefitting as we do from past gifts to the future gives us insight into the orientation of our work together, work that builds on history and is unequivocally future-oriented,” McCall said in her inaugural address. “Wooster calls upon us to see in each other and to feel through our environment extraordinary intergenerational confidence.”

McCall reinforced the purpose of Wooster to “engage in free inquiry, especially when it is uncomfortable,” and further, “to welcome an ever-expanding group of students into opportunities for knowledge creation and self-actualization, most especially to commit to their belonging when this disrupts structures and habits.” Third, she added, “The College of Wooster calls us to rekindle rich traditions of global dialogue within reshaped paradigms and structures.”

She also called out the College’s founding commitment to access and inclusion, noting “We know that our path toward equity, belonging, and justice is incomplete,” and adding: “To be true to ourselves, we must redouble our outreach and invite new generations of students into our community and do so potentially before, after, or outside of a traditional path to higher education,” she said.

The traditional ceremony included greetings and messages of support from alumni, the local community of Wooster, and the academic community, as well as a moving performance by the Wooster Chorus of “I was Love,” with text by Fenton Johnson and music by Jake Runestad.

“I am excited to observe and support Dr. McCall’s leadership and encourage us all to embrace this moment as a chance to grow and increase our collective impact on others,” said Gabe Tudor, superintendent and CEO of Wooster City School District, representing the local community. Angela Triplett ’06, president of the Alumni Board added, “We know our student experience was no accident. Behind it all was thoughtful leadership, strategic partnership, and a steadfast commitment to excellence.”

“What the Academy needs, what The College of Wooster needs is embodied in Anne McCall, a courageous, creative, and impactful leader who has the ability to inspire, innovate, and disrupt for the common good,” said Gilda Barabino, president of Franklin W. Olin College and a friend and former colleague of McCall who shared a greeting representing the higher education community. “The Academy also needs the type of intellectual inquiry, discovery, and forward-thinking brought to the liberal arts by The College of Wooster.”

Blessings over McCall’s leadership and future endeavors were bestowed by Wooster trustee and Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Wooster the Rev. David A. Rice in the invocation and Rabbi Joan S. Friedman, Lincoln Professor of Religion, professor, and chair of history at the College in a closing benediction. Included in the audience were past presidents of the College Grant Cornwell, Sarah Bolton, and Wayne Webster.

Festivities for the weekend included an academic panel series Celebrating Disruptions in the Liberal Arts, featuring guest speakers from a variety of disciplines that encouraged the community audience to think broadly and boldly in scholarship. Part of the annual Black and Gold Weekend, alumni and families of students joined inauguration guests on campus for a variety of events. During the homecoming game, McCall conducted the Scot Marching Band at the end of the first quarter and joined Archie at the finish line for a youth race. See a full recap of the weekend’s events at wooster.edu/inauguration.

Posted in News, President McCall on October 31, 2023.