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Our New President

On June 1, 2021, Dr. Julia Jasken will become the 10th president of McDaniel College and the second woman president in the college’s 153-year history. She has dedicated nearly her entire professional life to higher education and most notably to McDaniel, beginning in the classroom in 2003 as an English professor specializing in new media pedagogy and teaching a variety of professional writing courses.


For the past eight years, Dr. Jasken has assumed increasing responsibility in administrative positions, most recently serving in her current role as the college’s executive vice president and provost, overseeing the newly integrated academic and student life divisions. Her expertise spans academic and campus life restructuring, student success initiatives, adjunct faculty union contract negotiations, and building and supporting a culture of safety compliance. 


The McDaniel Commitment and More

A champion of both the liberal arts and McDaniel’s student-centered mission, Dr. Jasken has overseen many of the college’s most important strategic initiatives that created opportunity for McDaniel’s past two years of record enrollments. Dr. Jasken developed, and then served as director of, the Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO), the college’s one-stop shop for experiential education and career development for McDaniel students and alumni. While serving as the McDaniel’s first associate provost, she collaboratively built the college’s first cross-divisional entrepreneurship program.

Dr. Jasken envisioned and designed the college’s signature McDaniel Commitment, which emphasizes experiential learning and alumni connections, and guarantees that every student, guided by a team of mentors, can construct and tailor their personal educational path. With Dr. Jasken at the academic helm, McDaniel launched 10 new career-oriented majors and charted professional pathways for students through agreements with graduate schools and community colleges as well as McDaniel’s own five-year bachelor’s-to-master’s programs.

Education and Personal

A native of Moorhead, Minn., Dr. Jasken earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University; the topic of her dissertation was “Designing Composition: Textbooks, Teaching and Identity in the Digital Age.” Dr. Jasken's scholarly work appears in leading journals and focuses on the intersection of oral, written and visual communication.

She currently resides in Westminster, Md., with her husband, two sons and rescue dog Kira.

Accomplishments and Partnerships

Most recently, Dr. Jasken led the Return to the Hill planning efforts that prepared McDaniel to reopen for the Fall 2020 semester during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling McDaniel students not only to return to campus but to remain through the end of the semester when many colleges were forced to close their doors to on-campus learning. She also serves as the chair of the college’s recently created diversity, equity, and inclusion administrative team, which has overseen the college’s DEI initiatives over the past six months.

At the graduate level, Dr. Jasken made the decision to centralize graduate admissions and enrollment, resulting in improved institutional recruiting and tracking. She also helped craft a Data Analytics partnership program. As a proponent of campus-community partnerships, particularly related to community engagement efforts, she earned the Maryland-D.C. Campus Compact Statewide Faculty Award for Outstanding Service-Learning in 2012 for her work developing a “Writing for Non-Profit Organizations” course that paired McDaniel students with many nonprofit organizations within Carroll County.

Dr. Julia Jasken and family

Dr. Julia Jasken with her husband, Dr. David Colquhoun, and their two sons, Iain (17) and Kyle (12). 

Professional Contributions

Nationally, Dr. Jasken is widely respected for her contributions to higher education, most recently serving as the keynote speaker for the Higher Education Resources Services (HERS) Wellesley Institute. In addition to her role as Chair of the Finance Committee and Executive Committee Board member of HERS National Women Leadership Network, Dr. Jasken also serves as an Executive Committee Board member for Westminster's Target Community & Educational Services and as a Board Member for Chamber Music on the Hill.

Some of Dr. Jasken's presentations include:

  • “The Role of Alumni in Vocational Discernment.” College of Independent Colleges (CIC) NetVUE Conference. Louisville, KY. March 2019.
  • “Mission-Driven Innovation at McDaniel College.” with President Roger Casey. Securing America’s Future Workshop. Council of Independent Colleges. Westminster, MD. April 2017.
  • “Cost Containment for Mission Driven Innovation.” with Professor Pam Regis. CIC Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Student Affairs Officers. San Antonio, Texas. November 2017.

Widely respected for her ability to create dialogue among diverse groups, Dr. Jasken has been selected to facilitate small group discussion that include the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Institute for Chief Academic, Advancement, and Public Relations Officers; the CIC Institute on Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts; and the CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction. Her expert facilitation has also given her the opportunity to lead small groups for University of Maryland, Baltimore County's “Restorative Practices” and AAC&U's Summer Institute on Integrative Learning and Signature Work.

Meet McDaniel's Tenth President Get to Know Dr. Jasken

Dr. Jasken has dedicated nearly her entire professional life to higher education and McDaniel. For the past eight years, she has assumed increasing responsibility in administrative positions, most recently serving as the college’s executive vice president and provost, overseeing both academic and student life. Learn a little more about Dr. Jasken's time on the Hill and how, in looking back at where we've been, we can move forward into the future together. 

The Search Committee

The McDaniel College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Jasken as president during a special meeting following the endorsement of the Presidential Search Committee. The committee, which was chaired by Bruce H. Preston, a 1975 alumnus and member of the board since 1995, was formed in October and consisted of six other trustees, three elected faculty members, one staff representative, one alumni representative and one student representative. The committee, with the assistance of the search firm TBC Consulting, held focus group meetings and solicited survey responses from college constituents and leaders in the Westminster community to develop the presidential search profile.

  • Bruce H. Preston, '75, Trustee, Chair, Preston Realty, LLC

  • Jessia Avila '22, Student representative

  • Charles A. Boehlke Jr., '78, Trustee, Executive Vice President & CFO (ret.), MSC Industrial Direct

  • Mary Lynn Durham '70, Trustee, Lawyer, Mary Lynn Durham LPA Co.

  • Ralph O. Frith '84, Trustee, Divisional Sales Manager (ret.), Spectrum Brands, Inc.

  • Jenni Glennon M.S. '04, Staff representative, Associate Vice President for Administration

  • Cheng Huang, Faculty representative, Associate Professor, Biology

  • Marjorie R. Kimble M.Ed. '86, Trustee, Media Specialist (ret.), Carroll County Public Schools

  • Albert J. Mezzanotte Jr. '78, Trustee, Partner, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP

  • Christopher Newman '88, Trustee, Head of Americas, T. Rowe Price

  • Alexander G. Ober '63, M.Ed. '69, Alumni representative, Professor Emeritus, Exercise Science and Physical Education (now Kinesiology)

  • Linda L. Semu, Faculty representative, Associate Professor, Sociology

  • Bryn Upton, Faculty representative, Professor, History

From the Chair of the Board

“The most important task of our board is selecting the president of the college and I want to express sincere thanks to the members of the Presidential Search Committee, particularly Bruce Preston, for their great service to the college,” said McDaniel College Board Chair Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Otto J. Guenther, a 1963 alumnus. “We are grateful to the many members of our community who participated in open forums and surveys that allowed us to identify the desired qualities we were seeking—the very qualities, in fact, that make Dr. Jasken so uniquely qualified for her new role. Her accomplishments are impressive and impeccable, and she is truly the best possible choice to lead McDaniel.”  

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Otto J. Guenther, McDaniel College Board Chair

The Search Timeline


  • Dr. Roger Casey, McDaniel's ninth president, announces retirement at the conclusion of the 2021 academic year (Sept 24)
  • Presidential transition committee created (Sept 24)


  • Search consultant identified
  • Presidential search committee announced (Oct 15)
  • First meeting of the presidential search committee (Oct 19) and launch of the presidential search
  • Focus group held with McDaniel College Board of Trustees (Oct 24) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Focus group held with McDaniel College President's Council members (week of Oct 26) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Focus group held with McDaniel College Alumni Council (Oct 27) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Memo sent to campus (Oct 29) requesting that any potential internal candidates express interest by Nov 6
  • Survey requesting feedback on the desired attributes of the next president sent to all campus constituents (Oct 30), including all faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students, as well as all alumni and parents


  • Focus group held with McDaniel College undergraduate and graduate student leaders (Nov 2) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Focus group held with McDaniel College staff (Nov 2) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Focus groups held with McDaniel College faculty (Nov 2 and Nov 3) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Focus group held with Westminster community leaders (Nov 5) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Focus group held with McDaniel College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group (Nov 10) to determine the desired qualities of the next president in order to develop the search criteria
  • Presidential Search Committee meets to finalize search criteria (Nov 16)
  • Presidential search profile completed and distributed to all McDaniel constituents (Nov 20)
  • Internal candidates have until no later than Dec 4 to apply


  • Presidential Search Committee meets to evaluate internal candidate(s)
  • Internal candidate(s) interviewed by search committee
  • Search committee brings recommendation to the Board of Trustees
  • Board of Trustees holds special meeting in executive session (week of Dec 14) to consider the recommendation of the Presidential Search Committee and vote to appoint president, if applicable

To view the communication from the Presidential Search Committee that was sent to campus, click here.