The Board of Directors of Chestnut Hill College and the Sisters of St. Joseph are pleased to announce that William W. Latimer, Ph.D., M.P.H. will become the seventh President of Chestnut Hill College, effective July 1, 2022. In succeeding Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., Latimer is set to become the first lay president in Chestnut Hill College’s 98+ year history.
Dr. Latimer has established a distinguished career in higher education, rising through the ranks of faculty to administration at institutions including the College of New Rochelle, City University of New York, Lehman College, the University of Florida, Johns Hopkins University, and at his current position of Vice President of Mercy College, Bronx Campus. Holding a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rhode Island and an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Latimer has also experienced immense success in other areas, including fundraising, grant writing initiatives, strategic planning, enrollment management, and forming and sustaining community partnerships across both civic and business sectors.
“On behalf of the Sisters of St. Joseph, I am very happy to welcome Dr. Latimer as the seventh president of Chestnut Hill College,” says Sister Maureen G. Erdlen ’73, Congregational President of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Vice-Chair of the CHC Board of Directors, and co-chair of the presidential search committee. “I am confident that his experience, energy, and enthusiasm will continue our tradition of academic excellence and holistic education for these changing times. We value his appreciation of the inclusive, diverse community that is the legacy of Sister Carol Jean Vale. The college was founded almost 100 years ago to provide opportunities for women who were the underserved of that time. Dr. Latimer’s commitment to and fundamental belief in fostering equity through education will guide us in decision-making and in implementing best practices that will continue our mission and commitment to a more just world. As he assumes the leadership of our Catholic liberal arts college, he understands the challenges faced by institutions of higher education today. The entire CHC community has overwhelmingly recognized that Dr. Latimer is the person who can lead us into the next 100 years. As we engage with our first lay president, the Sisters of St. Joseph are excited to partner with Dr. Latimer to sustain the legacy of CHC.”
Committed to the values of a strong liberal arts education and the mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Dr. Latimer found himself drawn to Chestnut Hill College because of the College’s diversity and inclusivity, especially as it relates to the education of first-generation and minority college students.
In a letter to the campus community, he wrote, “Over the years, my professional experience, family, and faith have led me to the conclusion that the care we take of one another provides one fundamental basis to those we care for to go forward into the world and meet others with compassion, civility, and industry. I can think of no better environment in which to foster this care than Chestnut Hill College. I can think of no legacy that represents true inclusivity, compassion, and service more as the basis of this care than the mission and Charisms of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.”
“Dr. Latimer has the accomplishments in academics, collegiate administration and leadership needed to shepherd Chestnut Hill College into a new era,” adds Sallyann M. Bowman M.D. '72, member of the CHC Board of Directors and co-chair of the search committee. “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Latimer, and his family, to our CHC community.”
In becoming the seventh president of Chestnut Hill College, Dr. Latimer succeeds a long line of foundational and transformational leaders, including the most recent president, Sister Carol Jean Vale, who retires from her position after serving the College for 30 years. As one of the longest-serving college presidents in the Philadelphia-area, Sister Carol leaves behind a remarkable legacy. However, as the College looks forward, Sister Carol joins others in the community in sharing the excitement behind new leadership.
“In my estimation, Dr. Bill Latimer is the right person at the right moment in the history of Chestnut Hill College,” Sister Carol notes. “He brings an impressive background, rich in varied experiences in higher education -- as a faculty member, administrator, and president. His expertise in strategic planning and program development as well as his background in the liberal arts and sciences, qualify him uniquely to lead the institution into new and possibly uncharted territory. As a married man with a wife, who is an accomplished academician in her own right, and three little girls, he will be a role model for our students, staff, and faculty. As we transition to lay leadership, I can think of no one better to become the new face of Chestnut Hill College.”
In selecting its next president, Chestnut Hill College conducted a nationwide search with Hyatt-Fennell to attract a strong pool of outstanding candidates. The process included designation of the search committee, which was made up of students, faculty, staff, board members, and CHC alumni. Together, the search committee evaluated the candidates and then brought several on to campus for interviews with a multitude of constituent groups. All were invited and encouraged to provide feedback, of which an overwhelming amount of the CHC community did so. Ultimately, all of that was brought into consideration when choosing the next president of Chestnut Hill College.
“I was incredibly proud of our entire Chestnut Hill College community throughout the search for a new president,” said Cathy Lockyer Mouton ’92, Board Chair ex-officio. “To a person, everyone was candid about who we are as a college, and where we are in this moment in higher education. More importantly, our community was open to the idea of a new kind of leadership at Chestnut Hill College. It took great courage to have openness to a lay person who might not be a woman. The community was incredibly supportive throughout our search and offered solid feedback on each finalist candidate. Though we could never replace Sister Carol, who has truly been an example of servant leadership to us all throughout not just this search process but her entire presidency, our campus community made it possible for us to select a new leader for the College who will respect our history while envisioning a new future.”