May 30, 2017

Dear Members of the Oberlin College Community:

I am pleased to announce that Carmen Twillie Ambar has been named the 15th president of Oberlin College. She will transition to Oberlin this summer and be on campus full time beginning in September.

Our search process has been lengthy and thorough. I am thrilled that it has led to the appointment of such an extraordinary leader. I look forward to seeing the ways in which Oberlin and President Ambar will inspire each other. She is passionate about the ways music and the liberal arts are powerfully transformative. She is visionary in thinking about how we can carry our mission into the 21st century. She is compassionate about who has access to this transformation. These principles are not only professional; for her they are also movingly personal. They reveal how much learning and labor are already in her DNA.

President Ambar has served as the 13th president of Cedar Crest College since 2008, following a highly successful tenure as vice president and dean of Douglass College at Rutgers University, where she was the youngest dean in the university’s history. Cedar Crest has thrived under her leadership. Three straight years with budget surpluses and a 35 percent growth in net assets have allowed the college to make significant investments in the campus without borrowing, and the college’s endowment has increased by almost 92 percent. She has presided over the launch of 18 new academic programs and, during her tenure, Cedar Crest has seen enrollment growth in six of the last seven years and this fall will welcome its largest freshman class since 2007. Under her leadership, the diversity of the student body increased from 16 percent in fall 2008 to 37 percent in fall 2016, with the highest increases in Hispanic and African American populations.

Prior to her time at Rutgers, President Ambar served as assistant dean of graduate education at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. As an attorney, she previously worked in the New York City Law Department as an assistant corporation counsel.

President Ambar earned her juris doctorate at Columbia Law School, her master’s in public affairs at Princeton University, and her B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is married to Saladin Malik Ambar, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Senior Scholar at the Center on the American Governor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Ambar has ten-year-old triplets, Gabrielle, Luke, and Daniel.

For additional details on President Ambar’s background, and to read comments from other members of the search committee, please see the college’s official announcement of her appointment:

I wish to thank my fellow members of the Presidential Search Committee, whose contributions and commitments to this search were unwavering and exceptional: Adrian Bautista, Associate Dean of Campus Life and Director of Residential Education; Jennifer Bryan, Associate Professor of English; Chris Canavan '84, Chair-Elect, Board of Trustees; Gifty Dominah '15, Trustee; Carol Levine '84, President-Elect, Alumni Association; Will Lewis '90, Trustee; Jan Miyake '96, Associate Professor of Music Theory; Jeremy Poe '18, Student; William L. Robinson '63, Trustee; and Leanne C. Wagner '76, Trustee.

I also wish to thank those who participated in the confidential semi-finalist interviews, including: Board of Trustees Executive Committee members Amy Chen ‘79, Tom Cooper ‘78, Mike Kamarck ‘73, Chesley Maddox-Dorsey ‘81, Susan Troy ‘76, Danette Wineberg ‘68, and Diane Yu ’73; David Krischer '78, Trustee and Member of the President's Transition Team; Robert Lemle ‘75, Honorary Trustee and Chair of the Board of Trustees, 2005-2011; Nicholas Loh '14 and Anne Chege '16, Class Trustees; Lorri Olan '87, President of the Alumni Leadership Council; Will Yon '10, Member of the Alumni Leadership Council; Brian Alegant, Professor of Music Theory; Peter Swendsen, Associate Professor of Computer Music and Digital Arts; Chris Howell, Professor of Politics; A.G. Miller, Associate Professor of Religion; Naomi Roswell and Jesse Docter, Students; Natalie Winkelfoos, Delta Lodge Director of Athletics and Physical Education; and Tina Zwegat, Associate Director of the Student Union.

And finally, many thanks to our administrative assistant, Amanda Sharaba, and our search consultants Rebecca Swartz, Anita Tien, Benjamin Tobin, and Ashton Lange from Isaacson, Miller.

On behalf of the Board, I invite the entire community to join us in welcoming President Ambar and her family to Oberlin.

Lillie J. Edwards '75
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Previous Announcements

May 1, 2017

To the Oberlin community:

This report provides an update on our continued progress in the search for Oberlin‘s next president. The Presidential Search Committee (PSC) continues to feel that we have exceptionally well-qualified candidates with whom we have been discussing Oberlin’s future.

As a next step, we must complete our extended investigation of the candidates’ personal and professional backgrounds. We have been collecting significant perspectives on the candidates’ past achievements and track record through extensive interviews, comprehensive conversations with a diverse set of references, and the completion of public record background checks. Exercising such due diligence serves the best interests of the College and its future.

The selection of the president is one of the most important duties of the Board of Trustees at any college or university. Although the Trustees are the sole decision-makers in this process, we honor the vital role that the entire community plays as stakeholders in Oberlin’s future and in having shaped its past and present. Thus, our process of vetting candidates has been inclusive, starting with the community’s representatives serving on the PSC and the inclusion of additional community constituents in the final stages. Both of these screening groups have included faculty, students, administrative and professional staff, alumni and Board members. When the search is completed, the PSC will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees whose vote will determine who will be the next president of Oberlin.

We look forward to introducing the new president to you and realize that you are eager to welcome the new president to Oberlin and offer your support. In the meantime, confidentiality surrounding the process remains a primary concern. We are grateful for your continued respect for the closed search process.

Lillie J. Edwards '75
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

March 28, 2017

To the Oberlin community:

The Presidential Search Committee (PSC) and its consultants from Isaacson, Miller are actively vetting and assessing a broad and diverse pool of compelling candidates. The position profile was posted on the presidential search and consulting firm websites and posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education (on-line and print), the newsletter of the College Music Society, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, Inside Higher Education and Women in Higher Education. We also received nominations from alumni, students, administrators, staff, current and emeriti faculty, and the Board. We sincerely appreciate the community’s enthusiastic support as the PSC continues its work during this silent phase of the search.

As the PSC’s work continues, the Board of Trustees has appointed a transition team of faculty, staff, and students, chaired by honorary trustee Liz Welch ’80. Trustee Pat Shanks ’63 serves as co-chair and oversees the subcommittee that will organize farewell celebrations for President Krislov. Trustee David Krischer ’78 also serves as co-chair and oversees the subcommittee that will plan activities and events to welcome the new president and organize the new president’s orientation process. A list of the transition team members appears at the end of this report.

Celebrations for President Krislov will include on-campus events for faculty, students, staff, administrators, and town leaders. Alumni groups are sponsoring events in major cities. An academic symposium to be held in his honor is planned for the campus community on April 19th. Alumni and Commencement Weekend will offer other opportunities for celebration. We encourage the Oberlin community’s enthusiastic participation in these events.

The transition team will design a carefully coordinated series of events to facilitate welcoming the new president and family as residents of Oberlin, Ohio and the college community. Recognizing both the enormity of the new president’s responsibilities and Oberlin’s desire to offer gracious hospitality, the transition team has consulted with new presidents and Board transition committees at several peer colleges and universities to glean what best practices will facilitate an effective and efficient acclimation to Oberlin: the people, the place and the work. The team is creating ways for the campus community to meet the new president in a variety of informal, campus-wide events as well as in structured sessions with faculty, administrators, students, staff, and town leaders. Of course, the new president will play the key role in determining the final shape of the events and the schedule. Ferd Protzman, President Krislov’s Chief of Staff, will serve as the liaison between the new president’s office and the transition team.

I will continue to submit updates as the search progresses. In the meantime, please send your comments and questions to

Lillie J. Edwards '75
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Transition Team


  • Pat Shanks
  • David Krischer
  • Liz Welch

Alumni Association

  • Lorriann Olan
  • Tim Hurson


  • Manish Mehta
  • Brian Alegant
  • Bonnie Cheng
  • Cindy Frantz
  • Matthew Wright


  • Shlomo Elkan
  • Mike Frandsen
  • Lauren Haynes
  • Ben Jones
  • Ferd Protzman
  • Brittany Skolnicki


  • Sally Slade
  • Jake Berstein
  • Sadie Keller
  • Cole Mantrell

February 16, 2017

To the Oberlin community:

With the recent announcement of President Krislov’s appointment to the presidency of Pace University, there has been renewed interest in the status of our search for Oberlin’s 15th president.

I’m pleased to report that the search is going very well. Our consultants have been very successful in helping the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) build an impressive, competitive pool of candidates.

Our search is a closed search (many of the most desirable candidates would not apply or would withdraw their applications from a search that was open), which unfortunately limits the extent to which we can provide public updates during the current "silent" phase. As candidates submit their credentials, it is expected that we will maintain strict confidentiality in order to protect them in their current positions. A breach of that promise would be unprofessional and unethical, and we take it very seriously.

Our highest priority is to identify and select the candidate best prepared for the opportunities and challenges this position offers. Doing so means that the search timetable must have some flexibility as it becomes increasingly "candidate-centered," i.e., we’ll adjust our schedule to meet the needs of candidates. But our goal is to have the 15th president of Oberlin selected and approved by the Board of Trustees before President Krislov’s tenure ends on June 30, 2017. We are on target to achieve that goal.

The PSC has been especially grateful for your nominations and names of sources. As we begin reviewing candidate credentials, we continue to welcome confidential inquiries and nominations/referrals. Resumes with cover letters can be sent electronically and in confidence to:

Rebecca Swartz, Anita Tien, or Ben Tobin
Isaacson, Miller
263 Summer Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02110

I will post another progress report in March.

Lillie J. Edwards '75
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

December 20, 2016

To the Oberlin community:

I am writing to provide an update on the Presidential Search Committee’s plans and progress since my last report on November 10.

The committee’s consultants, Rebecca Swartz, Anita Tien, and Ben Tobin, of the search firm Isaacson, Miller, visited our campus on November 13–16. During their on-campus visit over these four days and in telephone conversations throughout the month of November, the consultants solicited the views of trustees, faculty, students, staff, alumni and town leaders. Many of you provided helpful and informative insights about the opportunities for Oberlin’s next president. We appreciate your participation.

Based on their research and conversations, our consultants and the Presidential Search Committee prepared a written position profile describing Oberlin’s key institutional needs and priorities, illuminating some of the challenges and opportunities Oberlin will afford—and listing a related set of desired characteristics and talents for—our next president. The Presidential Search Committee approved the final draft during its meeting on Thursday, December 8. The presidential search position profile for Oberlin can be found on the presidential search web site. An advertisement, based on the profile, will appear in selected publications in early 2017.

As you review the position profile, please pay particular attention to the qualifications and attributes most highly desired in Oberlin’s next president. We urge you to suggest people you know who could serve effectively as our next president or those who might know potential candidates. The success of our search will depend on the involvement of all members of the Oberlin community. By suggesting names of potential sources or candidates, you can immediately be involved in the search process. Please submit any name(s) to

At its December 8 meeting, the search committee also continued to discuss our commitment to the ethics and confidentiality necessary to conduct a successful presidential search. Approved by the Board of Trustees, the code of conduct which we all signed affirms our commitment to each other, to the candidates, and to the Oberlin community. At its December 9 meeting, the Board of Trustees also issued its formal charge to the Presidential Search Committee that sets forth the Board's expectations with respect to the search process and the authority granted to the search committee. The code of conduct and the board charge may also be found on the search committee’s web site.

The search is off to a good start. I will write to you again as we enter subsequent stages of the process. In the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions, please address them to

Thank you for your continued interest and your support.

Lillie J. Edwards '75
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

November 10, 2016

To the Oberlin community:

Because of the interest by the college community in the presidential search and its importance to the future of Oberlin, the search committee plans to make regular reports about its activities. While we must maintain strict confidentiality about prospective candidates throughout much of the process, the committee will make regular reports about its non-confidential activities. This is the first of such reports.

The work of the Presidential Search Committee has begun with the selection of committee members. Congratulations and thank you to faculty, students, alumni, and the administrative and professional staff for their cooperation in nominating such outstanding persons for membership. In addition to the six trustee members, the search committee now includes the following members, listed here with their affiliations:

A complete listing of the membership of the Presidential Search Committee appears here.

We have selected Isaacson Miller to assist Oberlin with this search. The consultants who will be working with us include Rebecca Swartz '98, Principal; Anita Tien, Vice President; Benjamin Tobin, Managing Associate; and Ashton Lange, Search Coordinator.

We have scheduled times for the consultants to talk to as many of you as possible, beginning Monday, November 14, through Wednesday morning, November 16. We have built an inclusive schedule that invites participation by a wide spectrum of the campus community. The schedule includes opportunities for students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, administrators, and leaders of the local community to talk with the consultants. To help focus these conversations, the search committee asks that you consider responding to three general questions in these discussions:

What are the most distinctive features of Oberlin College?

What are the most significant opportunities Oberlin has and the most important challenges that Oberlin faces in the next five to ten years?

What attributes would you hope to see in the next Oberlin president?

Your responses to these questions will help to forge an important written profile that will outline Oberlin’s key institutional needs and priorities and a related set of desired characteristics and talents for our next president. It is crucial that we begin the search process this month to have the greatest chance of meeting our goal of appointing the right candidate as Oberlin’s next president by the end of this academic year. I encourage you to participate in the conversations with our consultants next week. The schedule for these meetings is as follows:

Administrative & Professional Staff
Monday, November 14, 8:00 – 9:00am
Root Room (continental breakfast provided)

Student Body
Monday, November 14, 5:00 – 6:00pm
King, Room 106 (refreshments provided)

College Faculty
Tuesday, November 15, 4:30 – 5:30pm
King, Room 306

Conservatory Faculty
Tuesday, November 15, 4:30 – 5:30pm
Conservatory Annex Conference Room

Non-Tenured College and Conservatory Faculty
Tuesday, November 15, 7:00 – 8:00pm
Nancy Dye Lecture Hall, Room A162

Campus Community
Wednesday, November 16, 11:00 - 11:45am
Nancy Dye Lecture Hall, Room A162

Thank you for your interest and support.

Lillie J. Edwards '75
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

October 10, 2016

To the Oberlin community:

The Board of Trustees’ most important action this year will be to hire a new president for Oberlin. I am writing on behalf of the Board to announce the initial steps we have taken to begin the search process and to make sure that there is a smooth transition from President Krislov to the next presidency.

It is our intention to make the Presidential Search Committee as representative as possible. As in the past three presidential searches (in 1982, 1993, and 2006), the Board will establish an eleven-member Presidential Search Committee. Six members will be drawn from the Board, and have already been selected. One member will be drawn from each of the following groups: the College faculty, the Conservatory faculty, the Administrative and Professional Staff (A&PS), the student body, and the alumni.

At our Board meeting this weekend, the Board unanimously elected the following trustees to the Presidential Search Committee:

Sandhya Subramanian, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the College, will administer elections in the two faculties and in the A&PS. Each election will produce a slate comprising the three highest vote- getters. She will also ask the President of the Alumni Association to forward a slate of three candidates from among the alumni. Finally, she will solicit from the Student Senate a slate of three students, to be selected from the first year, sophomore, and junior classes.

Ms. Subramanian will forward the five slates to the trustees on the search committee, who will in turn select one candidate from each slate to serve on the committee. Those who are not selected will be invited to participate in confidential interviews with the finalists.

The Board will engage the services of a national search firm to assist in the search. A web site will soon be established to disseminate further information and updates on the search.


Clyde McGregor '74
Chair, Board of Trustees