CAROL A. CARTWRIGHT
President Emeritus, Kent State University and Bowling Green State University
President, Kent State University, 1991-2006
President, Bowling Green State University, 2008-2011
Carol Cartwright has served as a member of the Knight Commission since August 2000. She began her appointment as co-chair on January 1, 2017 after serving as co-vice chair in 2016.
A highly respected voice in higher education, Carol Cartwright’s career has been distinguished by innovative teaching, pioneering research and national leadership. She was president of Kent State University for 15 years from 1991 – 2006 and at Bowling Green State University from 2008-2011. Her retirement in June 2011 marked a 45-year career in public higher education.
During her presidential tenures, Dr. Cartwright held significant leadership roles in NCAA governance having served on the NCAA Board of Directors and as chair of the NCAA Executive Committee. She is currently a member of the NCAA Committee on Infractions and on the board of directors for the Collegiate Women Sports Awards.
In recognition to her contributions to college sports, the Mid-American Conference established the prestigious Cartwright Award, which is given annually to the member university with the best overall record in athletic competition, academic achievement and public service.
Dr. Cartwright served in prominent leadership roles in higher education’s most influential national organizations, chairing the board of directors of the American Association for Higher Education and serving on the boards of directors of the American Council on Education, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities. She served as a presidential appointee on the board of trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and as a board member of the National First Ladies Library.
Additionally, she completed an eight-year term on the board of directors for National Public Radio, serving as vice chair during the last two years. Currently, she is a Senior Consultant for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.
Her appointment as president of Kent State University in 1991 earned her the distinction of being the first female president of a state college or university in Ohio. A partial list of achievements under her leadership at Kent State includes the establishment of new colleges and academic programs in a wide range of high-demand fields, introduction of pioneering technologies to enhance learning, increases in enrollment, an extensive construction and renovation program that included complete renovation of the historic campus buildings, and the successful completion of Kent State’s first major fund-raising campaign.
Prior to her presidency at Kent State, she was vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of California at Davis, and dean for undergraduate programs and vice provost of The Pennsylvania State University. She served as a member of the Penn State faculty from 1967-1988, where she led a variety of research projects and authored numerous books, professional publications and technical reports.
Dr. Cartwright has been a leading member of numerous regional and statewide cultural, civic and economic development organizations in Ohio. Her participation in initiatives to improve Ohio’s economy includes past service on the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and the Economy. She also served on the boards of directors of KeyCorp, FirstEnergy Corporation, PolyOne Corporation, Republic Engineered Steels, and the Davey Tree Expert Company.
The scope of her contributions to higher education led to Dr. Cartwright’s induction into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. She received distinguished alumni awards from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she earned her bachelor’s degree, and from the University of Pittsburgh where she earned masters and Ph.D. degrees.
Other honors include the Clairol Mentor Award in Education, northeast Ohio ATHENA Award, March of Dimes Franklin Delano Roosevelt Humanitarian Award for Excellence and the ACE Mentor of the Year Award. She received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Heidelberg University in 2012. Marking her retirement from Kent State, the Auditorium Building on the university’s Kent Campus was named “Carol A. Cartwright Hall” in her honor.