June 1, 2012 – Allegheny College President James H. Mullen Jr. – who has brought increasing national recognition to the almost-200-year-old liberal arts college in northwestern Pennsylvania – has accepted a new five-year contract offered by the college’s Board of Trustees.
Mullen has another year left on his original contract, but he and the Allegheny College Board of Trustees unanimously agreed on the terms of the new contract, effective through 2017.
“To serve as Allegheny’s president as the college approaches its bicentennial is one of the great privileges in American higher education,” Mullen said in announcing that he would remain at the college’s helm. “I am very excited to continue to work with our board, faculty, staff, administration, students and alumni as we shape Allegheny’s third century of national leadership in liberal arts education.”
Eddie Taylor Jr., chairperson of Allegheny’s board of trustees and owner/president of the Taylor Oswald insurance and risk management firm in Cleveland, lauded Mullen’s work. He pointed to Mullen’s achievements in three areas: the successful start and execution of a strategic plan for the college, the launch of a major capital campaign, and Allegheny’s increasing national visibility, particularly in the area of civility in public discourse.
“Jim has been a great steward,” Taylor said. “His style is exceedingly collaborative. It’s important to him to hear and evaluate many perspectives before making difficult decisions.”
Since becoming Allegheny’s 21st president in August 2008, Mullen—like college presidents throughout the country—has managed the college through uncertain economic times. “The college weathered and continues to weather uncertain financial times,” Taylor said, “but Jim has handled it in an exceptional way.”
Mullen currently serves on numerous national education boards, including the American Council on Education, The Arc, the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Meadville Medical Center, Project Pericles and Pennsylvania Campus Compact.
In February 2012, Mullen presented the inaugural Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life to New York Times columnist David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields. At the podium at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Mullen called on higher education and the national press corps to recognize civility in politics and in society as a whole.
He was instrumental in securing four renowned leaders for Allegheny’s 193rd commencement in May: E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post columnist and political commentator; Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability; golf legend Arnold Palmer; and Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor and secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Each was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
Mullen graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and holds a master of public policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He holds a doctorate in higher education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
He and his wife Mari live in Meadville with their two children, Franki and James.