Kenyon Announces Inauguration Plans for 20th President

President Julie Kornfeld, who assumed office in October 2023, will be formally installed as Kenyon’s 20th president this spring.


The Kenyon community will celebrate the inauguration of President Julie Kornfeld during a series of events beginning Apr. 13 that also proudly commemorate the College’s bicentennial

“Throughout her career, Julie has removed barriers, built bridges and forged new paths for research, study and real-world impact,” Board of Trustees Chair Aileen Hefferren '88 H'12 said. “She is particularly attuned to the ways in which a liberal arts education equips students to address complex societal issues.” 

A highly regarded academic leader, committed educator and skilled epidemiologist, Kornfeld — who assumed the role of Kenyon’s 20th president on October 1, 2023 —  is a champion for interdisciplinary collaboration, curricular innovation and cross-cutting institutional partnerships.

“I strongly believe in the power of the residential liberal arts education at Kenyon,” said Kornfeld. “Our students come together to collaborate and learn across multiple disciplines while also living in a thriving, diverse community that prepares them to have lives and careers with impact."

The procession and ceremony on Apr. 13 will begin at 11 a.m. in the Lowry Center. A livestream will be available online. More information is available on the inauguration website.

Kornfeld will deliver an inaugural address. Global health expert and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Wafaa El-Sadr will deliver the keynote address. El-Sadr and Kornfeld were colleagues at Columbia University, where El-Sadr is the executive vice president for Columbia Global Centers; the founder and director of ICAP, a leading global health center working in more than 40 countries around the world; and a university professor of epidemiology and medicine.

Delegates from colleges and universities around the country will be in attendance — led in an academic procession by Kenyon faculty —  as well as the College’s former Acting President and current Provost Jeff Bowman and former President S. Georgia Nugent (now president of Illinois Wesleyan University).

Many time-honored Kenyon traditions will be a part of the installation ceremony, including the passing of the ceremonial mace — crafted for Kornfeld’s predecessor, Sean Decatur — and the donning of the presidential medallion. Hefferren will lead the Investiture at the ceremony, marking the official beginning of Kornfeld’s tenure at the College. All members of the campus community are invited to attend.

Other festive markers of the occasion will include the lighting of Old Kenyon and the ringing of the Old Kenyon bell, which can only be heard at the inauguration of a Kenyon president. 

A series of inauguration and bicentennial-related events throughout the week will highlight the dynamic and vital contributions of the Kenyon community making a positive impact on campus and in the world: 

  • Day of Service on Wed., Apr. 10.

  • Illumination of Old Kenyon Fri., Apr. 12.

  • All-Campus Dance Party on Sat., Apr. 13.

View event highlights.

Kornfeld has previously served as vice president for academic programs at Columbia University where she provided strategic leadership for curricular offerings across the university’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. She has taught numerous courses in public health and medicine and advised students across disciplines looking to improve the health of their communities and our global society. She has been recognized by The University of Miami for her outstanding teaching and mentoring.