Goucher College yesterday named as its new president Judy Jolley Mohraz, a top administrator at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Dr. Mohraz, a historian in women's studies, will become Goucher's ninth president on July 1, succeeding Rhoda M. Dorsey, who announced her retirement in September 1992. Dr. Dorsey has been Goucher's president since 1974.
Dr. Mohraz's selection yesterday by the Goucher board of trustees ends a search that began last summer and produced a list of about 200 candidates. Bruce D. Alexander, chairman of the trustees and the presidential search committee, described Dr. Mohraz, 50, as "a lady of great integrity, of values, of vision."
Dr. Mohraz "is a person who is extremely warm and engaging," Mr. Alexander said. "Someone who understands that the mission of education is to transmit values as well as knowledge. A person with a strong social conscience and a great believer in the importance of a liberal arts education."
In a telephone interview from Dallas yesterday, Dr. Mohraz said she was "enormously excited" about her selection, describing Goucher as having a distinguished past and great potential. She said the school's location in Towson was ideal, offering a safe haven for students but proximity to educational opportunities in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
"I think its location is what admissions officers dream about," Dr. Mohraz said.
One of her challenges, she said, will be to increase the recognition of the school, which has a student body of 1,000.
"One thing that is going to be very important is for Goucher to become well known nationwide," she said. "I think its reputation, the strength of its liberal arts curriculum, is well known in some areas, in Maryland certainly and parts of the northeast, but I think it has the potential to draw a national student body as well."
Her aspirations for Goucher match those of the trustees, who, according to Mr. Alexander, hope to transform Goucher into "the premier small liberal arts college in the whole Mid-Atlantic region."
Joan K. Burton, a professor of sociology at Goucher and vice-chairman of the Goucher search committee, said she was especially captivated by Dr. Mohraz's dedication to the idea of a liberal arts education and the importance of training students to think critically.
"Dr. Mohraz seemed to have almost a moral commitment to this," said Dr. Burton.
Born in Houston and reared in Waco, Dr. Mohraz was educated at Baylor University and the University of Illinois.
She joined the faculty at Southern Methodist University in the Department of History in 1974. In 1977, she was appointed coordinator of the university's women's studies program. In 1983, she was named assistant provost, and in 1988 she was promoted to associate provost for student academic affairs. In that position, she oversees admissions, financial aid, the registrar's office and the university honors program.
She is married to Bijan Mohraz, chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at SMU. They have two teen-age sons.
Kenneth Pye, president of SMU, credited Dr. Mohraz with having "a charming and extraordinary personality.
"She's one of the ablest persons, intellectually and administratively, with whom I've ever worked," said Dr. Pye.
Under Dr. Mohraz's leadership, he said, SMU had tripled the number of minority students entering the university.
Dr. Burton, at Goucher, said she hopes Dr. Mohraz can help the college diversify its student population and help continue development of a multi-cultural curriculum.
Mr. Alexander, a senior vice-president of the Rouse Company, said Dr. Mohraz will also have to devote much of her energy to fund raising "to build up our academic programs, our physical plant and our financial aid budget."
SMU's Dr. Pye said fund raising was the one area in which Dr. Mohraz did not have much experience, but he expressed confidence that her considerable charm would make her successful in that area.