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Hampshire College Welcomes Edward Wingenbach as Its Eighth President

AMHERST — Hampshire College appointed as its eighth president Edward Wingenbach, an administrator, faculty leader, scholar, and proponent of liberal-arts education.

For the past six months, he has served as acting president of Ripon College in Wisconsin, the liberal-arts college where he has been vice president, dean of faculty, and a professor of Politics and Government since 2015. Previously, he served for 15 years as an administrator and faculty leader at the University of Redlands in California.

“For 50 years, Hampshire College has represented all that is best in higher education,” Wingenbach said in accepting the appointment. “I see my charge as helping to reinvigorate its proud legacy of innovation because its example is too important, and there are too many students who need and want its high-impact, individualized, student-driven education. I believe in Hampshire, and I’m excited to help lead it into its second half-century.”

Hampshire’s board of trustees voted unanimously for Wingenbach’s appointment last Friday after a formal recommendation from the presidential search committee chaired by trustee Ellen Sturgis and comprising faculty, students, staff, trustees, and alumni. The board’s goal was to name a new president this summer to help guide the college in securing its operations, planning for its future, and preparing for the coming academic year. 

Since its founding in the 1960s by Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and UMass Amherst — its partners in the Five Colleges — Hampshire has remained a national innovator and leader in empowering students to design their own degree program and learn by active inquiry, mentored by faculty.

In his 15 years at the University of Redlands, Wingenbach aligned his teaching with the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. Originally founded as an independent college in 1969, the Johnston Center emerged from the same philosophy as Hampshire, guiding students to direct their own learning. Both institutions belong to the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning (CIEL), a working group promoting best practices around education reform and experiential learning. Wingenbach believes this high-impact model is more relevant to today’s global challenges than ever, preparing graduates with skills for the most creative, meaningful work and a lifetime of learning.

“I find Hampshire’s model of education to be thrilling,” he said. “I have seen how it utterly transforms the lives of students, faculty, and staff.”

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