The Presbyterian College Board of Trustees has named Dr. Anita Olson Gustafson as the institution’s 20th president, effective Aug. 1, 2023. Gustafson is currently dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a professor of history at Mercer University, a private research university in Macon, GA. The committee worked with CarterBaldwin Executive Search to identify and recommend a candidate.
Prior to her role at Mercer, Gustafson served on the faculty and administration at PC for nearly two decades. She will be the first female president in the college’s history.
“It is my honor to welcome Dr. Gustafson on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire PC community,” said Ruth Roper, chair of the Board of Trustees. “She is a highly distinguished leader who not only has the experience and vision to lead PC in its next chapter but roots that already run deep here in Laurens County and amongst the entire PC community. I look forward to being part of this exciting transition.”
Gustafson joined Mercer in 2016 and managed the university’s largest academic undergraduate college with nearly 2000 students and 40 academic programs. As dean, she collaborated consistently with the provost and deans from 11 other university programs, including the Schools of Law, Business, Engineering, Education, Theology, Professional Advancement, Music, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Health Professions. In 2018, she worked with faculty to develop and implement a strategic plan for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Gustafson’s teaching and scholarly interests include American immigration history, Swedish immigration, and the history of American women. She taught history at PC from 1997 until her departure for Mercer in 2016. While at PC, she also served as interim provost from 2010-2012, interim dean of academic programs from 2005-2007, and history department chair from 2000-2004. Gustafson held several faculty leadership roles at PC as well, including chair of the Senior Faculty Council and chair of the PC Launch Program for Vocation, Leadership, and Service.
Gustafson earned her PhD and MA in history from Northwestern University. She holds a BA in economics and Swedish from North Park University.
Click here to read the full announcement from Presbyterian College.
About Presbyterian College
Located in Clinton, SC, Presbyterian College is a private liberal arts college with an undergraduate enrollment of more than 1,000 students. It offers 30 undergraduate degrees and nine pre-professional programs including Pre-Law, Pre-Med, Pre-Theology, and Pre-Pharmacy, as well as a dual degree program in Engineering. Money magazine lists Presbyterian as the highest-ranked private institution in South Carolina in its “Best Colleges in America, Ranked by Value” and the U.S. News and World Report ranks it as one of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges for advancing social mobility. Presbyterian College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is a member of the Big South Conference of NCAA Division I, fielding 17 varsity teams in 11 sports.