St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan to Retire in June 2025

Submitted by Chuck Steenburgh on May 09, 2024 - 1:28 pm
May 09, 2024
By Chuck Steenburgh

In an eventful Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, May 10, Tuajuanda C. Jordan, PhD, president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland since 2014, announced her intention to retire effective June 30, 2025.

“Ten years ago, I said ‘now is the time’—the time to become a model of what higher education can achieve, the time for us—the invisible—to become visible,” said President Jordan. “I am immensely proud of our shared accomplishments including the increasing diversity of our student body, steady enrollment growth, curricular and co-curricular innovations, the focus on an expanding campus culture where everyone can thrive, and deeper partnerships with the broader community.”

“I eagerly anticipate what we will achieve together over the next 13 months and what you do beyond,” she added.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to extend our thanks to President Jordan for the unprecedented impact she has had on our College,” stated Chair Susan L. Dyer of the St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees. “Under her leadership, St. Mary’s College has flourished as The National Public Honors College, consistently rising in national and regional rankings and reputation.”

Jordan has served as the seventh president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland since July of 2014. In that time, she has led the College to nationwide recognition for success. Through a succession of strategic plans – the foundational A Time for Rebirth (2016), the transitional Big Audacious Goals (2020) and the current, transformational strategic plan The Rising Tide – she has guided the College’s development for more than a decade.

President Jordan has reinvigorated the College’s standing as the nation’s first public honors college, with a dual focus on academic excellence combined with access and affordability. She has enhanced the honors liberal arts curriculum through the Learning through Experiential and Applied Discovery (LEAD) initiative, which prepares students to enter the workforce through guaranteed internship, research or international experiences as part of their degree program. The College rebranded itself as The National Public Honors College in recognition of our first-in-the-nation status. New majors have been introduced, many with cross-curricular components, together with added resources in the form of facilities and faculty support to provide an honors-level experience. President Jordan has also led the College to new heights in fund raising through the Taking the LEAD campaign, the first major campaign in decades.

President Jordan has focused on access with an emphasis on making the College’s student body more closely resemble the multi-ethnic population of the state of Maryland, resulting in the most diverse first-year class in the College’s history arriving in the fall of 2023. The College has also improved access through an aggressive tuition reduction followed by years of resistance against the trend of tuition increases, with tuition frozen since 2019. The Sum Primus (“I am First”) first-generation student initiative established by President Jordan in 2017 has provided a network of support for students who are the first in their families to attend college. The College also became a part of the American Talent Initiative in 2018, partnering with top-performing institutions to commit to the collective goal of enrolling 50,000 additional talented, low- and moderate-income students at colleges and universities with strong graduation rates by 2025.

Additionally, the College has seen a remarkable physical transformation during her tenure. Innovative partnerships between the College and the state of Maryland resulted in several new construction projects. Anne Arundel Hall, providing more modern academic classrooms and office space, was completely rebuilt, opening in 2016. Next came the Jamie L. Roberts Stadium (2019), followed by the Nancy R. & Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center and Learning Commons (2022). The latter two jointly won recognition as Maryland Public Buildings of the Year in 2023, and have quickly become the new hub of on-campus as well as community activity through the acoustically optimized concert hall, multipurpose recital hall, rehearsal suites, versatile study spaces and of course the popular Brew’d Awakening cafe.

It was during the construction of the Jamie L. Roberts Stadium that an archaeological investigation uncovered artifacts consistent with mid-18th and early 19th-century slave quarters. This discovery prompted the conception by President Jordan of the Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland, a unique and award-winning work of art that is the focal point of the Sacred Journey, an emerging annual College tradition that recognizes the history of those who lived under slavery on what are today the College’s lands.

President Jordan, a highly sought-after speaker, has carried the St. Mary’s College name and story to more than 50 invited appearances as a keynote or featured speaker or panelist during her presidency. In her current roles as president of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), inaugural co-chair of the Carnegie Postsecondary Commission and board chair for Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), President Jordan is a highly influential leader in higher education.

Prior to SMCM, President Jordan served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as a professor of chemistry at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon. While there, she helped recruit an exceptional and diverse faculty, launched a center for entrepreneurship and developed a campus-wide system to increase student persistence and graduation rates. While an associate dean and tenured faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, she helped establish the center for undergraduate research and creativity.

President Jordan gained national prominence in the realm of science education with the creation of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Education Alliance (SEA) program and the launch of its first initiative, the SEA Phage program, which engaged novice undergraduates in research in genomics and bioinformatics. This program has been implemented at more than 50 diverse institutions across the nation, impacted thousands of students and faculty, and resulted in numerous scientific and pedagogical publications.

President Jordan holds a B.S. in chemistry from Fisk University and a PhD in biochemistry from Purdue University.

The Board of Trustees plans a nationwide search for the College’s next leader, led by a campus-wide search committee which will take place over the coming year.

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