Dr. Laura Skandera Trombley is the incoming 16th president of Southwestern University, located in Georgetown Texas. Dr. Trombley is the first woman president of the University and a tenured professor in the Department of English. Southwestern University is the oldest liberal arts institution in Texas, founded in 1840. The state’s first Rhodes scholar was a Southwestern student and 25% of their graduating class is accepted into medical school. Degrees offered include Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Fine Arts. Southwestern meets all its electrical needs from renewable energy through wind generation and is committed to LEED construction principals. The University is a member of NCAA Division III.

Dr. Trombley served as the University of Bridgeport’s 10th president and Trustee Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the College of Arts & Sciences. At the University of Bridgeport, she led a transformational, student-centered change that recently led to its recognition by Money magazine as one of “Money’s Best Universities” in 2019. In 2019 the women’s soccer team won the NCAA Division II national championship.

Under her leadership, for the first time, U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) ranked the University of Bridgeport among the top 381 national universities; the 39th most ethnically diverse national university in the country; and among the top performers on social mobility among national universities. The University also ranks among the top undergraduate engineering programs in the country.

Dr. Trombley is president emerita of Pitzer College, where she served for 13 years, and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Previously, she served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Dr. Trombley is the author of five books and is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished Mark Twain Scholars in the world. She is the recipient of many awards for her scholarship, including The Mark Twain Journal recognized Dr. Trombley as a Legacy Scholar in spring 2019 for her efforts in rehabilitating the intellectual reputations of the women who surrounded Mark Twain. In 2017, she won the Louis J. Budd Award for her contributions to Mark Twain studies.

Dr. Trombley graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Arts in English from Pepperdine University. She received her doctorate in English from the University of Southern California.