The Lebanon Valley College Board of Trustees announced on Thursday that James M. MacLaren, PhD., a physicist and the current provost of St. Xavier University in Chicago, will be the Annville college’s 19th president, starting on July 1st.
MacLaren will succeed Lewis E. Thayne, who has led LVC for the last eight years.
Dr. MacClaren has served as St. Xavier’s chief academic officer since 2018. Before that, he spent 28 years at Tulane University in New Orleans as an assistant professor of physics, chair of the physics department, and in various administrative roles, including dean of the university’s Newcomb-Tulane College.
As a physicist, MacLaren’s work focused on the electronic structure of materials. He has published 150 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, and books and presented 22 papers at national and international conferences. The U.S. Department of Energy recognized his work with an Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment in Metallurgy and Ceramics Award in 1995.
As an administrator, he oversaw St. Xavier’s colleges of arts and sciences, management, and nursing and health sciences. He was also responsible for graduate admissions and the school’s libraries.
MacLaren was born in London. He earned bachelor and master of arts in natural sciences degrees from Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, U.K. He went on to study at Imperial College in London, earning a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics.
“My wife, Gina, and I are unbelievably excited by this opportunity,” said MacLaren. “We have received such a warm welcome from the people we have met. Lebanon Valley College is a place where students are the center of the enterprise-where faculty and staff help students achieve their dreams and reach goals they perhaps thought were not possible.”
“When I saw the opportunity, I wanted to be part of that kind of transformational education.”
Elyse Rogers, Chair of the Board of Trustees, left no doubt that the college is just as happy that Dr. MacLaren will be coming on board. “Dr. MacLaren . . . exhibits an unequivocal commitment to the success of all students – undergraduate, adult, first-generation, and underrepresented.”
“His commitment to a comprehensive education grounded in the liberal arts, combined with a realistic assessment of the demands facing institutions like Lebanon Valley College, was immediately evident. He has the strategic, collaborative, and transparent leadership qualities the College will need as it continues to grow and thrive in the competitive higher education landscape.”
Lebanon Valley College was founded in 1866. 1,850 full and part time undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled for the Spring 2020 semester, pursuing more than 30 majors, as well as self-designed majors. LVC has graduate programs in athletic training, business, music education, physical therapy, and science education.