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Kentucky's Berea College selects first woman to lead school

Since the school's beginnings 167 years ago, Cheryl Nixon is the first woman to become president.

BEREA, Ky. — BEREA, Ky. (AP) — Berea College on Saturday selected its next president, who will become the first woman to lead the Kentucky school in its 167-year history.

Cheryl L. Nixon received unanimous support from the school's Board of Trustees. She'll begin the job on July 1, 2023, following the retirement of current school President Lyle D. Roelofs.

Nixon said she shares Berea's “focus on inclusive excellence.”

“I have worked in both rural and urban settings to provide opportunities to students who often do not see themselves within higher education,” she said. “By creating new ways to welcome these talented students into college, we can transform lives while also transforming communities.”

Berea — a private, liberal arts college in the Appalachian foothills — has a tradition of outreach to students with limited financial resources. It guarantees tuition will be covered, awarding Tuition Promise Scholarships to ensure no student pays tuition. Students have on-campus jobs, but they keep the pay they receive and none of it goes for tuition.

The school's enrollment is about 1,400.

Nixon currently serves as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She previously served as associate provost, English department chair and graduate program director at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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