November 2014

Inaugurate! Inaugurate! Inaugurate!

Bryn Mawr’s celebrated can-do spirit and scholarly know-how came to the fore in September as the College gathered for the inauguration of its ninth president, Kimberly Wright Cassidy.

By Nancy Brokaw

Inaugurate_Cell Inaugurate_Board
En route to her inauguration, Cassidy takes time out for a selfie with students. Board Chair Arlene Joy Gibson ‘65 with President Cassidy after the ceremony.

Inauguration Day dawned bright and sunny. The campus was lush with late-summer foliage. Alumnae/i arrived, students and faculty gathered, and the College community convened on Merion Green to mark the official welcoming of its new president.


Pomona College President David Oxtoby assures Cassidy, “There is no better job than the one you hold now”.

Board Chair Arlene Joy Gibson ’65 presided at the event as members of the Bryn Mawr community joined colleagues from Haverford, Swarthmore, and Wellesley in extending greetings to Cassidy. In his welcoming remarks, David W. Oxtoby, president of Pomona College, assured Cassidy that “there is no better job than the one you hold now.” A trustee emeritus of the College, Oxtoby made a compelling case for the Bryn Mawr model of education: “The very best preparation for the jobs of the 21st century is a liberal education which includes the study of subjects from Classics to the sciences to the praxis courses that Bryn Mawr has pioneered to connect deeply with communities around us and with world problems.”

Then, to a standing ovation—complete with Anassa katas—Gibson made the formal presentation of Bryn Mawr’s new president, Kimberly Wright Cassidy. In her remarks, excerpted in the following pages, Cassidy reiterated Oxtoby’s argument for the vital importance of the liberal arts and celebrated Mawrters’ I-can-do-anything spirit, intellectual rigor, and sense of community. She concluded with a call to joy—and her audience heeded her words as they repaired to Wyndham Green for a celebratory luncheon, complete with a lineup of international foods, music, Twitter feeds (hashtag #KCass), an Instagram stream in the food tents, photo booths, a performance by the Cassidy Brothers, a (temporary) tattoo parlor, and a gallery of cardboard cutouts of past BMC presidents. Participants got their choice of tats—a straightforward inaugurate, a Gothic Anassa kata, or the Bryn Mawr lantern in any of four class colors—and their chance to pose as Bryn Mawr’s next president.

Photographs by Jim Roese.