President, Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina
Recognized as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents by TheBestSchools.org, Jane K. Fernandes is in her fourth year leading Guilford College as its ninth president. Jane is guiding Guilford College through curricular and administrative innovation to become a college of inclusive academic excellence. She has described three sources of inspiration that fuel the pursuit of that vision: the college’s world-class faculty, its powerful Quaker heritage, and its unique commitment to community service and civic engagement.
Under Jane’s leadership, Guilford’s first-rate academic program is in an exciting period of renewal and renaissance, with many advances designed to resonate with a new generation of students. More than half of Guilford's students are racially and ethnically diverse with increasing diversity of faculty and staff.
Jane is an active voice and participant in addressing critical racial justice issues. She received national attention for her statement on North Carolina’s HB2 law. And, she has led the campus in undertaking difficult conversations, examining meaningful ways to address systemic racism, gender inequity, and sexual assault – three of the most severe issues facing colleges nationwide.
Members of the campus community have praised Jane’s willingness to support initiatives led by students and faculty, such as Every Campus a Refuge in response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the Wiser Justice Program providing Guilford College classes to incarcerated individuals. Last September, Jane was one of only 50 presidents from the nation’s colleges and universities to be invited to President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Gathering in Washington, DC. The College recently received national recognition from The Washington Center for Every Campus a Refuge.
Jane’s higher education administrative career spans 30 years. Before taking the Guilford presidency, she served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Asheville for six years.