Southwestern University names its first woman president

Laura E. Skandera Trombley was named the 16th president of Southwestern University on April 3. (Courtesy Southwestern University)
Laura E. Skandera Trombley was named the 16th president of Southwestern University on April 3. (Courtesy Southwestern University)

Laura E. Skandera Trombley was named the 16th president of Southwestern University on April 3. (Courtesy Southwestern University)

Southwestern University named Laura E. Skandera Trombley as the 16th president and first woman to head the school April 3, according to a news release.

Trombley is currently the president of University of Bridgeport and the president emerita of Pitzer College and of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, the release said. She also previously served as vice president for academic affairs at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, per the release.

This is not the first time Trombley has been named the first woman to a position. In addition to breaking boundaries at Southwestern University, Trombley was also the first woman to hold the title of vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Coe College as well as the first woman president of The Huntington Library.

“It is fitting that Southwestern University starts this new decade in historic fashion,”
said Stephen G. Tipps, chair of the Southwestern University board of trustees, in the release. “Dr. Trombley’s reputation and body of work in higher education is truly impressive. She is a gifted scholar, proven leader, and passionate advocate for liberal arts education.”

Trombley attended Pepperdine University at the age of 16 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English/Humanities. She remained at Pepperdine for graduate school, graduating
summa cum laude with a Master of Arts in English. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California as a Virginia Barbara Middleton Scholar and a recipient of the Lester and Irene Finkelstein Fellowship for Outstanding Humanities Student.


SU was established in 1840 and is Texas' oldest university. Trombley will officially start in the position July 1, the release said.