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Only 26% of the country's college presidents are women, a number many say is very low considering 57% of the student body in higher education is female. But Bennington College's ninth president, Coleman is among the longest-serving college presidents in the country. She has just announced her intention to retire on June 30, 2013, following her 25th year in office.
Coleman's tenure coincides with Bennington's most significant period of growth in the College's 80-year history. Since her inauguration in 1987, the College has raised more than $175 million; six new buildings have been constructed, all of them award-winning. Under the tenure of President Elizabeth Coleman, Bennington College actually reduced its tuition. And applications for admission have doubled, bringing enrollment to an all-time high.
Among the pioneering curricular programs launched are a top-ranked low-residency graduate program in writing and the ambitious Center for the Advancement of Public Action, which has garnered national attention. It invites students to put the world's most pressing problems at the center of their educations. Coleman's vision for the liberal arts and their role in reinvigorating society has been widely recognized. She speaks internationally on the topic, and concluded the 25th anniversary TED "Ideas worth Spreading" Conference in Los Angeles.