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Presidents of Colorado College
James Dougherty, 1875-1876 James G. Dougherty was a Congregational minister from New England. When he accepted the appointment to be president of Colorado College in 1875 he was working in Wyandotte, Kansas. He was guaranteed at Colorado College a yearly salary of $2,000, half of which was to be paid by the Congregational Church for his services as pastor. As president, Dougherty was responsible for raising funds, most of which he obtained from the American College and Education Society. Not enough money was raised to pay his salary or to operate the college, and Dougherty reluctantly submitted his resignation on March 9, 1876. Several weeks later the college closed.

Photo of James DoughertyDougherty

Photo of James DoughertyTenney

Edward P. Tenney, 1876-1884 Edward Payson Tenney, pastor of the First Congregational Church at Ashland, Massachusetts, was asked to become the second president of Colorado College in the spring of 1876. He was educated at Pembroke Academy, at Dartmouth College and at Bangor and Andover Theological Seminaries. In 1868-69 he had served as pastor of the Congregational Church in Central City, Colorado. His ideas encompassed the "new" educational concept emphasizing the practical aspects of a college education. Tenney was also given the charge to raise funds. He did this from four other Congregationalists from the Boston area. To publicize the college, Tenney published a pamphlet entitled The New West which was widely read in the East. The college incurred heavy financial losses during the Tenney era, and in 1884 Tenney vacated the presidency of Colorado College.

Board Of Trustees / Faculty, 1884-1888
In 1884, the Board of Trustees appointed Professor George N. Marden, chair of the faculty, to take charge of the college. Following Marden, Professor Winthrop D. Sheldon and then Professor William Strieby held the position.

William F. Slocum, 1888-1917 William F. Slocum, pastor of the First Congregational Church in Baltimore, Maryland, became the president of Colorado College in 1888. Slocum was a graduate of Amherst College and Andover Theological Seminary. During his presidency, the college grew from 50 students to 500 and from a single building to sixteen. His wife, Mary Slocum, founded CC's Woman's Educational Society. After an investigation into what became known as the "Slocum Affair," the Board of Trustees requested his resignation. The president spent a year abroad, during which time the Board of Trustees appointed professors Florian Cajori, Edward C. Schneider, and John C. Parish to take over his administrative duties. At the end of the 1916-1917 school year, Slocum officially resigned, and he and Mrs. Slocum retired to Newton Center, Massachusetts.

Photo of William F. Slocum Slocum

Photo of Clyde Augustus DuniwayDuniway

Clyde A. Duniway, 1917-1923 Clyde A. Duniway was the first president of Colorado College who was not a Congregational minister and the first with academic experience. He had an A.B. from Cornell and an A.M. & Ph.D. from Harvard, had taught eleven years at Sanford and been president of Wyoming University and Montana University. After leaving Colorado College in 1923 he served as director of the British Division of the American University in Europe and then was appointed professor of history at Carleton College, where he remained until his retirement in 1937.
Charles C. Mierow, 1923-1924 (acting), 1925-1934 Charles C. Mierow was a professor of classical languages and literature with A.B., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton. He taught at Phillips Andover Academy and Princeton before he came in 1916 to teach at Colorado College. He became acting president in 1923 and president in 1925. During the Mierow era the first building since 1914 was built on campus, but the depression following the stock market crash caused severe losses in revenue to the college. Dr. Mierow took a leave of absence in 1933 and did not return to the position of president. The Board of Trustees appointed Mierow research professor for two years. He combined this with a professorship of biography at Carleton College for the next 16 years.

Photo of Charles C. MierowMierow

Photo of C. B. Hershey Hershey


Charles Brown Hershey, 1933-1934 (acting) and 1943-1945 (acting) Charlie Brown Hershey, Dean of the College, was appointed Acting President in 1943 when President Davies offered his services to the United States Marine Corps. He had also held the position of Acting President when President Mierow was abroad in 1933-34. Hershey became Dean of the College in 1928. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1947. Charlie Brown Hershey had come to Colorado College as Dean of Men and Professor of Education. His entire career, Hershey continued as Professor of Education. He had received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and his Ed. D. from Harvard. In 1952 Charlie Brown Hershey published a history of Colorado College 1874-1949. He died in 1955 having been Dean Emeritus since 1948.

Thurston J. Davies, 1934-1948 (director, Navy V-12 program, 1943-1945) Thurston J. Davies was appointed president of Colorado College in 1934. After graduating from Princeton in 1916, he served in the Marines during WWI and received two Purple Hearts. He taught school in Baltimore, Maryland and Buffalo, New York, where he became headmaster in 1925. In 1943, President Davies was commissioned a major in the Marine Corps and assigned to Washington, D.C. He directed the Navy V-12 college training program for Marine Corps Reserve Officers. Dean Charlie Brown Hershey became acting president of Colorado College during this period. President Davies resigned shortly after his return to the college. He went on to work with Town Hall, Inc., the Brussels World Fair, and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association. He died of cancer in 1961 at the age of 67.

Photo of Thurston J. DaviesDavies

Photo of William Gill and brother, Richard
Gill (on right) and his brother Richard at the inauguration.

William Gill, 1949-1955 General William H. Gill, a native Virginian and a 1907 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, became president of Colorado College in 1947. He had been a civil engineer before entering the army and his military career included numerous assignments during WWI & II. As major general, Gill commanded the 89th Infantry Division at Camp Carson. As president of Colorado College, he guided the school successfully through the post WWII years. General Gill died of heart failure in 1976 at the age of 89 and was buried with full military honors at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.

Louis T. Benezet, 1955-1963 Louis T. Benezet came to Colorado College in 1955 from Allegheny College, Meadeville, Pennsylvania, where he had been president since 1948. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his M.A. from Reed College and Ph.D. from Columbia University. In 1943-46 Benezet served as a educational officer in the U.S. Navy. In 1963 he left to serve as president of Claremont Graduate School and University Center for seven years. Benezet then accepted the presidency of The State University of New York at Albany.

Photo of Louis T. Benezet Benezet

Lloyd E. WornerWorner

Lloyd E. Worner, 1963-1981 Lloyd E. Worner graduated in 1937 from the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri. He attended Washington and Lee University for several years and then enrolled in Colorado College, where he received his A.B. in 1942. Worner received both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. In 1946 he accepted an appointment in the Colorado College history department. By 1955 he was a full professor and he also became the dean of the college. Worner was inaugurated president of Colorado College in 1963.
Gresham Riley, 1981-1992 (sabbatical 1991) Gresham Riley was born in 1938 in Jackson, Mississippi and received his A.B. from Baylor University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Prior to coming to Colorado College as president, he held the position of Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia. He left Colorado College in 1992 and in 1994 was elected president of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

Photo of Gresham RileyRiley

Thomas E. CroninCronin

Thomas E. Cronin, 1991 (acting) Thomas E. Cronin, the McHugh Professor of American Institution and Leadership at Colorado College, served as acting president while President Gresham Riley was on sabbatical from June 1, 1991 to December 31, 1991. Professor Cronin was a member of the Political Science faculty of Colorado College from 1979 to 1993. In 1993, he was elected president of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.
Michael D. Grace, 1992-1993 (acting) Michael D. Grace received his B.A. and M.A. from Colorado College and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He became Instructor in Music at Colorado College in 1967, Assistant Professor of Music in 1971, Associate Professor of Music in 1979, and Professor of Music in 1986, a position he holds today. Professor Grace founded and directs the Colorado College Collegium Musicum and the Summer Conservatory and Music Festival, and served as Dean of the Summer Session from 1987 to 1990. Grace was Acting President of Colorado College from 1992-1993.

Michael D. GraceGrace

Photo of Kathryn Mohrman

Kathryn Mohrman, 1993-2001 Kathryn Mohrman became the first woman president of Colorado College in 1993. She received her B.A. from Grinnell College, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, and her Ph.D. from George Washington University. Prior to coming to Colorado College, Mohrman taught at Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Brown University. She had been Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park since 1988. Mohrman spent four months of 2000 as a visiting scholar at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China; during this period, Timothy Fuller and Dick Storey served as acting co-presidents. After leaving CC in July of 2001, Mohrman received a Fulbright fellowship to study in Hong Kong. She was later named Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Program Office.
Timothy Fuller, 2001-2002 (acting) Tim Fuller has a B.A. and M.A. from Kenyon College and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He has taught in the Political Science department of Colorado College since 1965, chairing the department from 1985 to 1991. He was Dean of the Faculty and College from 1992 to 1999 and served as Acting President from August 2001 to January 2002.



Richard F. Celeste, 2002-2011 Dick Celeste was a former U.S. ambassador to India, director of the Peace Corps, and two-term governor of Ohio. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar. In addition to his elected and appointed positions, he was managing partner of Celeste and Sabety Ltd., an economic development consultancy, from 1991 to 1997. Celeste has been a visiting fellow in public policy at Case Western Reserve University, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and chair of the National Governors Association Committee on Science and Technology. He also chaired the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable and has been a board member of Habitat for Humanity International, the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, and numerous other not-for-profit organizations.

Jill Tiefenthaler, 2011-2020. Jill Tiefenhaler became CC’s 13th president on July 1, 2011. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana. Before coming to CC, she was provost and professor of economics at Wake Forest University. As chief academic officer at Wake Forest, Tiefenthaler led a strategic planning process culminating in a 10-year plan emphasizing the teacher-scholar model, education of the whole person, and the preservation of opportunity in higher education. Prior to joining Wake Forest, Tiefenthaler taught economics, chaired the economics department and served as associate dean of the faculty at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. At Colgate, Tiefenthaler took lead roles in strengthening strategic planning, faculty development, enrollment management, curriculum development, and interdisciplinary scholarship through the establishment of new centers and institutes.




Edmonds, Moore

Mike Edmonds and Robert Moore, July 2020-July 2021 (acting). Mike Edmonds, dean of students and vice president for Student Life, and Robert Moore, senior vice president for Finance and Administration, served as acting co-presidents from July 1, 2020 until July 1, 2021.


L. Song Richardson, July 2021-. L. Song Richardson, a legal scholar, dedicated educator, lawyer, and expert on implicit racial and gender bias, was appointed the 14th president of Colorado College in a unanimous vote by the Colorado College Board of Trustees on Dec. 9, 2020. Her term began on July 1, 2021. Before coming to CC, Richardson was the dean and chancellor's professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. At the time of her appointment as UCI Law's second dean, she was the only woman of color to lead a top-30 law school. She received her AB from Harvard College and her JD from Yale Law School.




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