Pamela Gunter-Smith
Pamela Gunter-Smith (Submitted)

York College has a new president, and she is the first female and the first minority chosen for the position in York College's history.

Pamela Gunter-Smith has been selected to replace George Waldner, the president of the private college since 1991, according to a news release. Waldner has served since 1991.

Gunter-Smith was most recently provost and academic vice president of Drew University in Madison, N.J., where she's been since 2006. She oversaw the design of a new science facility, led efforts to increase faculty and staff diversity, and created new graduate programs, among other accomplishments.

She previously served as the Porter Professor of Physiology at Spelman College for 14 years.

"I am honored to have been selected as the next president of York College," Gunter-Smith said in a release. "York stands as a model for affordable academic excellence and is well positioned to be a leader in the national conversation on the cost of higher education."

Gunter-Smith was not made immediately available for comment. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Spelman College and a doctoral degree in physiology from Emory University.

The selection pleased the York College Student Senate, said senate president, Kyle Joins. When the senate asked students what they wanted in a new president, "The number one response that came up was an individual who is engaging and visible on campus. Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith embodies all of the characteristics of an approachable, fun-loving leader," he said.

Joins said Gunter-Smith has already told senators she wants to meet with them monthly, as well as been visible at sporting events and in the community.

"I cannot envision a better individual for the job," Joins said.

Search committee chairman George Glatfelter had said the new president, along with having a teaching background and private college experience, should be focused on maintaining the "great value" identity York College has. In a release from the college, Glatfelter said Gunter-Smith fits all the qualities they were seeking.

"We believe that Dr. Gunter-Smith has the background and capability, leadership and passion to project York College more broadly - nationally and beyond - and to continue to improve our reputation and recognition," Glatfelter said. "Among her clearly recognized strengths are a deep commitment to students, direct experience in the classroom, and an understanding that high-quality education must remain affordable."

- Reach Andrew Shaw at ashaw@yorkdispatch.com