Sue Ott Rowlands. Courtesy of Randolph College.

Randolph College has announced the appointment of Sue Ott Rowlands as its 11th president.

Ott Rowland will assume the position July 1. She succeeds Bradley W. Bateman, who announced last summer his June 2022 retirement after nearly a decade of service.

Ott Rowlands served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) between 2014 and 2021, and she is currently a professor of theatre arts in the School of Arts there. Prior to her tenure at NKU, Ott Rowlands was the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of Toledo in Ohio. She has also served as chair of The Ohio State University’s acting/directing program in the Department of Theatre and head of the acting program at Webster University in St. Louis. 

Born in Oklahoma, Ott Rowlands has lived in numerous areas of the United States, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland, among others. She earned her undergraduate degree in education with a speech/theatre emphasis from Oklahoma Christian College and her terminal degree, an M.F.A. in acting and directing, from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to her extensive career in higher education, Ott Rowlands has acted and directed professionally in New York and Washington, D.C. and is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association.

“I would like to support Randolph College in the growth of new enrollments, fiscal stabilization, and creative solutions to issues confronting liberal arts colleges in today’s higher education landscape,” Otts Rowland said in a statement released by the school. “In my mind, Randolph College has all of the right pieces to make it a strong, competitive institution. I look forward to helping the College’s aspirations become reality.”

Ott Rowlands’ appointment comes after a search led by the Presidential Search Committee, which was made up of trustees, including several alumnae, faculty, staff, and students, and guided by Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm.

“As provost (second in command) at NKU, Sue earned a reputation as a leader with vision, an innovator largely responsible for expanding the University’s vision of what it could be and creating programs to secure its financial future,” said Betsy Crighton ’67, co-chair of the search committee and member of the Board of Trustees in a statement. “She is known as a community-builder: collaborative and approachable. A tenured professor of theatre who graduated from a liberal arts college, she is a true believer in the liberal arts and sciences, and in Randolph. In the words of one of her colleagues, ‘Sue and Randolph were made for each other.’”