Klawe to step down as Harvey Mudd president in 2023

Harvey Mudd College Maria Klawe smiles in a bright pink shirt.
(Courtesy: Harvey Mudd College)

After 15 years as president of Harvey Mudd College, Maria Klawe will step down when her current contract expires in June 2023.

Klawe notified Mudd’s board of trustees of her decision during its regular meeting last weekend, she told community members in an email Monday morning.

“I want you all to know that serving as president of Harvey Mudd College is now—and has been—the greatest honor of my academic career, and I am incredibly proud and grateful for everything we have accomplished together,” Klawe said.

The computer scientist’s legacy will include significant growth in the college’s endowment, which Klawe credited for advances in Mudd’s facilities and financial aid. Since she arrived in 2006, Mudd constructed the R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, a centerpiece of its campus, as well as new residential and academic buildings. 

Klawe, herself the first woman to serve as Mudd’s president, also noted increases in the proportion of women and students underrepresented in STEM fields attending Mudd under her leadership.

But Klawe also oversaw turbulence as Mudd students and faculty grappled with the school’s demanding curriculum and challenging culture. An NPR report called the 2016-17 academic year the school’s “worst year ever” after the publication of the Wabash Report, in which faculty anonymously questioned students’ preparedness and commitment. Protests followed and classes were canceled for two days. 

Over her remaining two years, Klawe will oversee the college’s third attempt to bring students back to campus after local COVID-19 restrictions stymied the 5Cs over the last year, as well as continued student body growth and work to improve the college’s Core Curriculum.

“Now seems like an opportune moment for our community to begin the important conversation about who should lead the College in the next phase of its development,” Klawe said. “I plan to continue serving as your president for the next two academic years with all of the focus and energy that I brought with me in 2006 so that together, we can best position the next president of Harvey Mudd College to be even more successful.”

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