Laurie A. Carter joined the Lawrence community as its 17th president on July 1, 2021.
Carter comes to Lawrence after serving as president of Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, since 2017. Her tenure at Shippensburg focused on prioritizing student success, telling the university’s story, building a relationship with the community, and enhancing overall quality. Notably, she has strengthened student success efforts by creating a first-year experience program, a first-generation college students’ program, a comprehensive student success center, and an academic center for student-athletes.
In addition, she collaborated with local businesspeople to create a downtown location for Shippensburg University’s Centers of Excellence, transformed the gateway to campus into a new Alumni and Welcome Center, and renovated the decommissioned steam plant into a home for the State System’s first School of Engineering. Carter also secured the largest gift in Shippensburg athletics history.
Carter’s efforts to strengthen diversity and inclusion at Shippensburg University were recognized by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, which named her as one of 25 outstanding women in higher education (link). Her efforts include the addition of an executive level chief diversity officer, renovation of the multicultural center, creation of a PRIDE Center, and expansion of the Title IX office. Most recently, she created an Anti-Racism Institute to foster racial understanding across the State of Pennsylvania.
Prior to assuming the presidency of Shippensburg, Carter served as executive vice president and university counsel for Eastern Kentucky University, where she provided leadership to 33 departments and oversaw a budget in excess of $71 million. She also has extensive leadership experience in the performing arts, holding various inaugural leadership positions during her 25 years of service at The Juilliard School, considered the nation’s premiere performing arts college. She was Juilliard’s first African American administrator and taught on the liberal arts and graduate faculty. She developed the institution’s student affairs program, initiated diversity initiatives, created the Office of the General Counsel, and co-created the Jazz Studies program. She was vice president and general counsel and executive director of Jazz Studies when she left Julliard to lead the nation’s third-largest arts education department at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Prior to coming to Lawrence, Carter served as a commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and chair of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission President’s Council and is a member of the Keystone Health Board of Directors, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Board, and Millennium Leadership Institute steering committee.
A native of New Jersey, Carter attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she received a bachelor of science degree in communications. She received her masters of arts in communications from William Paterson College and earned her JD from Rutgers University. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Snow College and is a member of the Clarion University Athletics Hall of Fame, in recognition of her outstanding undergraduate career in track and field.
She is married to Gary Robinson, and they have one son, Carter, who recently graduated from college. Their family dog, Pepper, also joins them in Appleton.