President Kelliher announces retirement


Photo provided by the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communication

President Kelliher, the 24th president of Simpson College, announced her plans to retire after becoming engaged to another college president.

by Kyle Werner, Feature Editor

With the start of the new year and the new semester, President Kelliher announced her plans to retire in an email sent out to campus on Jan 18. 

Although she will no longer be the president of Simpson College, she will become the First Lady of Quincy University, recently engaged to University President Brian McGee.

“I’ll miss working with people who are dedicated to our mission and committed to ensuring our students succeed,” said President Kelliher. “Our faculty, staff, and students are all dedicated to student success.” 

While Kelliher has presided over the college, Simpson was named as the No. 1 private college in Iowa for education value in Iowa, No. 7 overall in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2022-23 Midwest Regional Rankings and was recognized by Washington Monthly as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

She also oversaw the launch of the nursing program with the Mercy College of Health Sciences, has hired a new athletic director, as well as vice presidents of business and finance, admissions, diversity equity and inclusion, and advancement. 

“It has been exciting to see the mission-focused strategic initiatives go from ideas to proposals to implementation, especially around new academic programs, support services, new athletic opportunities and all the facility enhancements we have made and continue to pursue across campus,” she said. 

As the college’s 24th president, President Kelliher has broken the barrier of women in college leadership.

Megan Schultz, the director of presidential initiatives, said she is inspired by President Kelliher and her time as the first female president in the college’s 163-year history. 

“It’s been very inspirational, as a female, to be able to work alongside Simpson College’s first female president. To know that she has accomplished so much during her career, and that I have been able to be a part of that has been very rewarding,” she said. 

The Board of Trustees will form a search committee to start finding the college’s next president. According to the news release from the college, this process is expected to last several months. Kelliher will continue serving until a successor is named and will assist with the transition.

“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,” said Terry Handley, Chair of the Simpson College Board of Trustees in the same news release.

While President Kelliher’s time at Simpson is coming to a close, she said that she will miss the people she has connected and worked with and that working as the president of the college has transformed her.

“I want everyone to know that for the remainder of my time as president, and after my retirement, I will maintain my commitment to Simpson College and continue the momentum we have created together,” said Kelliher. “It will be my priority to ensure Simpson remains a place providing innovative learning opportunities, which welcomes and transforms students through exceptional programs.”