On Monday, February 3, 2003, S. Georgia Nugent, then the dean of Princeton University's Harold W. McGraw Jr. Center for Teaching and Learning, was elected the eighteenth president of Kenyon College.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Nugent lived in a number of cities around the country during her childhood and adolescence but considers Miami, Florida, where she spent her high-school years, her hometown. In 1969, Nugent became a member of Princeton's first coeducational class, graduating cum laude in 1973, the same year the first class of women graduated from Kenyon. She also holds the distinction of being the first female graduate of Princeton to hold a full-time faculty appointment at the university.
Nugent received a Ph.D. in classics from Cornell University and began her teaching career as an instructor at Swarthmore College before returning to Princeton as an assistant professor in 1979. In 1985, she moved to the classics department at Brown University, where she was appointed an associate professor. Several years later, she again answered the call of her alma mater, becoming assistant to Harold T. Shapiro, Princeton's eighteenth president, in 1992 and associate provost in 1995. In 2001, Nugent became dean of the McGraw Center, working with a variety of programs and services for faculty members and students to enhance teaching and learning at the university.
A widely published scholar of the classics, Nugent specializes in epic poetry and Greek tragedy. She has numerous articles and presentations to her credit, as well as a book on allegory.
Renowned as a teacher, Nugent received the Wriston Award for Excellence in Teaching during her tenure at Brown. Her gifts as a professor were made known to a wider audience when the Teaching Company of Arlington, Virginia, included her lectures in two sets of audio and video recordings, entitled "Great Books Curriculum: Classics" and "Thinking Through Myth," in its SuperStar Teachers college lecture series. She has also taught in the classics department at Kenyon.
Among Nugent's accomplishments at Princeton were initiatives to lead the university's distance-learning programs. In early 2000, she helped to establish the Educational Technologies Center, which enables faculty members to use digital images and Web material for alumni distance education as well as for on-campus instruction. "A woman who leads largely male troops in instructional technology is an uncommon sight in higher education," reported the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2001. "But the role suits Nugent well."
In the years since her arrival at Kenyon, Nugent is proud that the College has increased the quality and diversity of faculty and students, dramatically increased resources for financial aid and for faculty development, improved the conditions of employment for staff members, built a child-care facility for faculty and staff, and enhanced "family friendly" policies. An ambitious fund-raising campaign for $230 million is reaching its goals, and prudent investing and fiscal discipline have ensured a balanced budget for four decades. Nugent's tenure has seen the construction of a number of new facilities (for athletics, dining, and teaching) of unique beauty and great utility. A particular objective has been to develop stronger relationships and partnerships with the local community-an outstanding example is the Food for Thought program, recognized as a national leader among local foods initiatives. Kenyon has continued to offer a pure liberal arts curriculum while also introducing new fields of study, and the College has gained enhanced national recognition for the quality of the education and experience it offers undergraduates.
Nugent is married to Thomas Scherer. A native of Kingston, New York, Scherer is also an alumnus of Princeton, which he attended on an Army ROTC Scholarship. Following military service in Germany, he graduated from the Columbia University School of Law and then joined the renowned New York City firm of Cravath, Swaine, and Moore. He later worked for Morgan Stanley in New York City and Hong Kong and the global reinsurer Swiss Re of New York and Zurich. In January 2010, Scherer became senior vice president and general counsel at Chartis, Inc.