Carmen Twillie Ambar Joins Oberlin College as the First African-American Leader

For the first time in its 184 year history, Oberlin College & Conservatory has appointed Carmen Twillie Ambar as their African-American leader.   Ambar assumes this role after her tenure with Cedar Crest College where she served as President.

Ambar’s resume, focused primarily on education leadership roles, is what caught Oberlin’s Presidential Search Committee eye when coming across her candidacy.   Jennifer Bryan, an associate professor of English at Oberlin College, says, “I think of Carmen Ambar as the pragmatist’s idealist. She’s clear-eyed and tough-minded, honest and smart, and she believes passionately in the transformative power and social impact of what we do. I think she’s really inspiring. I’m confident that she’s going to be a powerful voice for Oberlin’s mission and values.”

Ambar isn’t new to holding leadership roles; she served a nine-year term as the 13th president of Cedar Crest College, following an extremely successful tenure as the youngest dean and vice president of Douglass College, a sister school of Rutgers University in New Jersey.   During her time at Cedar Crest, Ambar achieved multimillion-dollar surpluses and a consistent three-year 35 percent growth in net assets for three consecutive years, according to Oberlin News Center.     Ambar also initiated 18 new academic programs that focused in the School of Adult and Graduate Education while also increasing the college’s endowment by nearly 92 percent.


“Oberlin is a singular institution in American higher education, with a historic commitment to social justice, academic and musical excellence and the liberal arts,” Ambar stated.

“I look forward to my work with Oberlin’s faculty, staff, students, board, and alumni to think creatively and collaboratively together.”

“I am humbled to be joining this institution and excited about the opportunity to lead it into its next era.”

Congratulations to Carmen Ambar on her new endeavor!

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