Dr. Marjorie Hass Begins Tenure as Rhodes College’s 20th President

A middle-aged professional business-woman standing in front of an academic building
Dr. Marjorie Hass

Dr. Marjorie Hass takes office July 1, 2017, as the 20th president of Rhodes College. Hass joins the nationally ranked liberal arts college after serving as president of Austin College in Sherman, TX, for the past eight years. She succeeds Dr. William E. Troutt, who retired in June after 18 years at Rhodes.  

“The most important way to start this adventure is by listening very closely, and I really look forward to immersing myself in the community, to meeting students, faculty, and staff, and the generations of Rhodes alumni who have a passion for this institution,” says Hass. 

Says Board of Trustees chair Cary Fowler ’71: “For 18 years, Rhodes was blessed with President Troutt’s thoughtful leadership. The tradition continues with the arrival of President Hass, whose passion for the mission of the college and whose boundless positive energy will enthuse and inspire all in her orbit. The college’s commitment to the liberal arts, to Memphis, to service, and to the core values embodied in its Honor Code will find a new and effective champion in Marjorie Hass. The Board of Trustees welcomes her with enthusiasm.”

“I think Dr. Hass’ presidency marks a major turning point in the history of our college and in the value of our liberal arts education,” says Rhodes Student Government President Thomas Mitchell ’18. “We know where we are as an institution and where we want to go, and we’ve matched with a visionary leader who will take us there. The entire student body is excited to be a part of this new era.”

An accomplished leader and educator, Hass has been a spokesperson for the value of a liberal arts education. “That holistic relationship where students are studying but also serving as junior apprentices in the work of scholarship and the work of developing a mind, that to me is the absolute pinnacle of what a liberal arts education can offer a student.” 

With a thriving student population of more than 2,000 students and a faculty of more than 200, Rhodes is one of only 40 institutions featured 
in the book Colleges That Change Lives. “Rhodes seems to have really perfected the teacher-scholar model, and so my sense of how students engage with their professors is in the classroom—where they’re getting outstanding teaching—and also out of the classroom—in the research lab, in community service, in community engagement,” adds Hass, who will work to expand the college’s already extensive list of partnerships.

She also will work closely with the Rhodes Board of Trustees to manage the college effectively, develop a strategic plan for its continued growth, and continue to foster a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive environment.

Hass earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois, Urbana‐Champaign and began her academic career in 1993 at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, as an assistant professor of philosophy. She was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and to professor in 2006, while receiving recognition along the way for her teaching and research focused on the philosophy of language and logic. She also served as the director of the college’s Center for Ethics and as interim dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs. In leadership roles working with teams, Hass says it was invigorating trying to harness the skills and talents of a diverse group of people to achieve a particular goal. Hass was appointed provost in 2005, a position she held until becoming president of Austin College in 2009. 

Hass also has held leadership positions in national higher education organizations including the Council for Independent Colleges (CIC), NCAA Division III Management Council, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).