Centennial Perspectives

People: President Carol A. Cartwright

Carol A. Cartwright
President, 2008-2011

Dr. Carol A. Cartwright, who is one of the most highly respected voices in higher education, is the first woman to take a presidential role at Bowling Green State University. She was named the president of BGSU Jan. 6, 2009, after serving as interim president since July 2008.

Dr. Cartwright’s experience in Ohio was key to the BGSU Board of Trustee’s decision to name her president. She also has a keen understanding of the opportunities available through the University System of Ohio and is supportive of the vision of Gov. Strickland and Chancellor Fingerhut.

Dr. Cartwright’s career has been distinguished by innovative teaching, pioneering research and national leadership. She became Kent State University’s 10th president–and the first woman president of a state university in Ohio–in March 1991. She retired as president in June 2006. Prior to her career at Kent State, she was vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of California at Davis and dean for undergraduate programs and vice provost at The Pennsylvania State University.

Under Dr. Cartwright's leadership, student success became Kent State's top priority; many mutually beneficial partnerships were forged with businesses, schools and other universities; the status of teaching and public service was elevated; academic programs were launched in a wide range of high-demand and emerging fields; the university pioneered technologies that enhance teaching and learning; enrollment increased in quantity and quality; building and celebrating diversity became an institutional priority; new collaborations and exchanges connected Kent State to every corner of the world; the university constructed 21st-century facilities from residence halls to research labs; and Kent State successfully completed its first, major fund-raising campaign.

Dr. Cartwright held prominent leadership roles on higher education’s most influential national organizations, chairing the board of directors of the American Association for Higher Education and serving on the boards of directors of the American Council on Education, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities. She chaired the National Collegiate Athletic Association Executive Committee and served as a member of the NCAA’s board of directors. She also served on the executive board of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Center for Research Libraries board of directors and the American Council on Education Commission on Women in Higher Education. She currently serves on the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the National Public Radio board of directors, and the ACE Commission on International Initiatives.

Dr. Cartwright was a leading member of numerous regional and statewide civic and economic-development organizations, including the Greater Akron Chamber, the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education and NorTech. She co-chaired the Ohio Technology in Education Committee, which developed Ohio’s master plan for educational technology from preschool through graduate school. Her participation in initiatives to improve Ohio’s economy includes past service on the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and the Economy. Dr. Cartwright also serves on the boards of directors of three companies with headquarters in Northeast Ohio: KeyCorp and PolyOne Corporation of Cleveland and FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron.

The scope of her contributions to higher education led to Dr. Cartwright's induction into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. She received Distinguished Alumni awards from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the University of Pittsburgh; the Clairol Mentor Award in Education; the YWCA Greater Cleveland Women of Achievement Award; the Northeast Ohio ATHENA Award; and the March of Dimes Franklin Delano Roosevelt Humanitarian Award for Excellence. After announcing her retirement as president, she was honored throughout the region, state and nation, including recognition in the form of resolutions of appreciation from the Ohio Legislature and the U.S. Congress. She was awarded the title "President Emeritus" from the Kent State University Board of Trustees. In addition, the Auditorium Building on the university’s Kent Campus was named "Carol A. Cartwright Hall" in her honor.

Dr. Cartwright earned master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and her bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.

She and Dr. G. Phillip Cartwright have three children and two grandchildren.

For further reading in the BGSU Archives

  • President's Papers. Carol A. Cartwright (2008-2011)
  • News articles in BG News

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