President Cole stands in academic regalia on the stage during his inauguration

Joyful Ceremony Marks Installation of 23rd President of Allegheny College

Photo by Ed Mailliard

A large crowd of hundreds gathered at the Raymond P. Shafer Auditorium at Allegheny College for the inauguration of Allegheny’s 23rd president, Dr. Ron Cole ’87, including Allegheny College Trustees, Presidents Emeriti Cook and Mullen, elected officials, students, employees, and alumni. Steve Levinsky ’78, Board of Trustees Chair, formally installed Cole, placing the symbolic presidential medal around his neck.

Dr. Cole is a nationally recognized speaker on campus leadership, transformational change, community engaged learning, and the value of the liberal arts. He was the recipient of the Council of Independent Colleges Chief Academic Officer Award in 2021.

“President Cole exemplifies the best of Allegheny. From his time as a student to returning as a faculty member and serving for 7 years as Provost to his recent appointment as President,” said Mr. Levinsky. “He believes in the Allegheny community and is prepared to lead the College boldly into the future.”

Cole is an alumnus, a faculty member, former provost, the parent of an alumnus, and the spouse of an alumna. He reflected on a recent essay he wrote for the student newspaper, where the former geology professor likened his journey to the formation and eventual disintegration of mountains to fill the oceans with stone. He talked about his time as a student at Allegheny, where he learned about the altruistic purpose of faculty and staff who inspired in him a growth mindset, intellectual curiosity, and the value of community, to which he is an active contributor. 

Dr. Cole shared his pride of Allegheny and a bold vision for the future:

“Educating across traditional boundaries, teaching students depth and breadth in the art and science of learning, and reimagining education with relevance to meet the needs of the 21st century.  I believe these are among the ingredients of transformative education and I believe that Allegheny is poised with these ingredients and with purpose to meet the needs of our greater Meadville region, our nation, and our global society for generations to come.”

Dr. Cole is a student-centered leader. Allegheny Student Government President Nicole Recio Bremer ‘24 shared, “As we welcome our president, we must reflect on the role of leadership in fostering and nurturing this sense of community. A strong and inclusive community is not built by one person alone but it is important to have a leader that holds these values so that we can build this community through the collaborative efforts of every member.”

A Meadville resident, Dr. Cole is a member on the corporate boards of the Meadville Medical Center and the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County and served on the Meadville Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund board. He is a certified martial arts instructor having taught classes at the American Black Belt Academy in Meadville for youth and adults and has played violin as a member of the Allegheny College Civic Symphony.

The day also included a series of athletic matches, an art exhibit, and a community reception in the evening featuring more than 24 local Meadville food and beverage vendors.

SEE PHOTO GALLERY by Ed Mailliard, Rich Sayer