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Simpson President Kelliher Announces Plans for Retirement

Board prepares for national search to find her successor


After a long and distinguished career in higher education, President Marsha Kelliher announced her decision to retire as president of Simpson College in 2023. 

“I am thankful to the Simpson College community and the work we’ve done during my tenure as president,” said Kelliher. “Between now and the time a new leader arrives, I will maintain my commitment to Simpson and continuing the momentum we have created together.”

Under Kelliher’s leadership, Simpson has been named by Money.com as the No. 1 private college in Iowa for educational value and placed No. 7 overall in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022-23 Midwest Regional Rankings. In 2021, it was recognized by Washington Monthly as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, highlighted by a No. 9 earnings ranking for its large share of students who can support themselves financially after graduation.

“I want to thank Marsha and applaud her positive influence during her tenure. Her list of accomplishments as president is impressive,” said Terry Handley, Chair of the Simpson College Board of Trustees. “Our search for her successor will be dedicated to finding a new leader who shares our values and aligns with our mission of cultivating a diverse community of learners to lead lives of meaning and purpose.”   

The Board of Trustees will establish a presidential search committee, in accordance with the college’s bylaws, to lead the search process. The process is expected to last several months. Kelliher will continue serving until a successor is named and will assist with the transition.

“It will be my priority to ensure Simpson remains a place that provides innovative learning opportunities, and also welcomes and transforms students through exceptional programs,” Kelliher said. “I have loved my time at Simpson because of the unique culture of this community. I want to do everything I can to ensure the next leader is set up for continued success that will serve this campus family well into the future.”