Converse College announced June 22 the appointment of Betsy Fleming as the college’s ninth president. Fleming will assume her responsibilities in October 2005.
“Converse is thrilled to have Betsy Fleming at our helm,” commented Thomas E. Hannah, chairman of the Converse Board of Trustees. “Smart, passionate, and charismatic, Betsy brings a proven track record of energizing heritage-rich institutions.”
A Spartanburg native, Fleming is currently Executive Director of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, S.C., one of the oldest arts organizations in the United States and a leading regional art museum. Prior to her position there, she worked for The Frick Collection in New York, N.Y. and The J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles, CA. Fleming has also served The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and Harvard University Art Museums. She taught at Parsons School of Design in New York and was a teaching fellow at Yale University. Betsy is one of 20 members selected from 215 nominees statewide to participate in the inaugural class of the Liberty Fellows, which aims to develop outstanding leadership for the state of the South Carolina.
Fleming holds a baccalaureate degree from Harvard University, a master of arts in the history of design from Royal College of Art in London, a master of arts and master of philosophy from Yale University, and is completing her Ph.D. from Yale University this year.
“Converse College is a stellar example of what can be achieved at a single-gender institution and I am deeply honored to become its next president,” said Fleming. “Converse’s debate team is a national powerhouse and has defeated my own alma mater, Harvard University. Converse music students travel across the world performing in the most prestigious venues. Converse science students are researching a cure for breast cancer. With an accomplished faculty, beautiful campus, exceptional resources and committed Board of Trustees, Converse is poised for a new level of success. I will help ensure that every capable young woman hears the message about all that Converse has to offer.”
“Betsy is a creative visionary who has transformed the Gibbes Museum of Art into a vibrant and flourishing organization,” Hannah also noted. “A nontraditional candidate such as Betsy brings an exciting opportunity for Converse to build recognition as a leader for women’s issues and education.”
Susan “Susu” Phifer Johnson, a Converse alumna and chairman of the presidential search committee, echoed Hannah’s enthusiasm: “Betsy Fleming has drawn new populations to the Gibbes by implementing innovative educational programs and exhibitions. She is an energetic and dynamic woman who will be able to create a compelling vision for liberal arts education for women at Converse. She understands wholeheartedly the value of education, understands what it is to be excited about learning, and understands that it is fulfilling to take your passion and make it your life.”