Jill Beck assumed the presidency of Lawrence University in July 2004, becoming the college’s 15th president and first woman president. She was formally installed in office in May 2005, during a two-day Celebration of the Arts and Liberal Learning. Among the themes she has chosen for her presidency are fostering collaboration between the fine and performing arts and the traditional liberal arts and sciences; cultivating a desire for environmental sustainability on campus and in the lives of Lawrentians; and encouraging more active community engagement by Lawrence and its students.
Under her leadership, the college has created an innovative postdoctoral teaching fellowship program, the Lawrence University Fellows in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. To date, 29 Lawrence Fellows representing the sciences, humanities and arts have participated in the program.
In 2009, Forbes.com called Beck a “barrier breaker,” one of 15 female college presidents on Forbes’ list of America’s 50 Best Colleges.
In 2010, Beck established the LU-R1: Partnership Opportunities for Students program, which creates opportunities for Lawrence students to work in laboratories at R1 research universities and other settings during the summer. The program leverages Lawrence alumni directing research labs and projects to help create these experiences. With its genesis in the natural sciences, Beck plans to expand the LU-R1 opportunities to accommodate demand from other disciplines at the earliest possible date.
President Beck is also a nationally recognized advocate for the arts and is active in a number of professional organizations.