S. Georgia Nugent, Ph.D.

HERS Director Emerit

1994 HERS Leadership Institute Alumna

President, Illinois Wesleyan University

S. Georgia Nugent, Ph.D., leads Illinois Wesleyan University as the institution’s 20th president.
Nugent, who joined IWU as interim president in August of 2019, was named to the official role by the Board of Trustees on Nov. 14, 2019. She is the first woman to serve as the University’s president.

From 2003 to 2013, Nugent served as president of Kenyon College, where she focused on strengthening the college’s core academic values while launching new programs in Islamic culture and Latino studies, and the Center for the Study of American Democracy. During Nugent’s tenure at Kenyon, funding for faculty research was increased, new endowed professorships were created in anthropology, drama, economics, English, and international studies, and new hires increased the diversity of the faculty as a whole. Additionally, enrollment grew slightly and the College held its top-35 ranking among national liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Before beginning her presidency at Kenyon College, Nugent served at Princeton as assistant to the president, associate provost, and dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and as professor of classics at Princeton and Brown universities. She also taught on the classics faculties of Cornell as well as Swarthmore College and Kenyon College. Nugent served as interim president at The College of Wooster during the 2015-16 academic year.

A past senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges, Nugent helped design, develop and oversee a public information campaign advocating for the value of a liberal arts education. The national, multi-pronged initiative directed attention to the compelling evidence that smaller independent colleges produce graduates who are among the best prepared for success in their personal, career, and community lives.

In 2021, Nugent was elected to a two-year term as president of Associated Colleges of Illinois, a network of private, nonprofit residential colleges and universities. ACI supports member colleges and universities by advancing independent liberal arts and sciences education and helping underserved students succeed in college, career and life.

A widely published scholar of the classics and of higher education, Nugent earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a doctorate from Cornell University.

As a scholar, Nugent specializes in epic poetry and Greek tragedy. She has numerous articles and presentations to her credit, as well as a book on allegory. Nugent has also shared her nationally respected higher education insight as a contributing writer for Inside Higher Ed.