Bathed in the dusky haze of the afternoon sun, the smell of freshly mowed grass hovering as an undeniable harbinger of spring, the University of La Verne baseball and softball teams on April 8 don...
Devorah Lieberman, an accomplished administrator and engaged educator, is selected to keep La Verne soaring as the university’s next president.
Devorah Lieberman has come full circle.
Raised in Covina and an alumnus of the same high school as University of La Verne president Steve Morgan, Lieberman will now succeed Morgan as she becomes the university’s 18th president and its first female president.
“I am honored to serve as the 18th president of the University of La Verne,” Lieberman said. “I believe that the values and mission that provide for the foundation for this university reflect the very best of a private liberal education. I look forward to working closely with the entire university community in our combined efforts to create an environment where all students, faculty and staff can achieve their greatest potential.”
Lieberman, who most recently served as Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wagner College in New York, emerged from an exhaustive search conducted by the La Verne Board of Trustees, which yielded a diverse pool of outstanding candidates. In the end, it was Lieberman who was selected to succeed Steve Morgan, who is retiring in June after 26 years as president.
“Dr. Lieberman is an innovative, accomplished administrator with a national reputation as a transformational leader,” said Luis Faura, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Her selection as the 18th president of the University of La Verne is a significant achievement for this institution. Throughout her career she has fostered personal learning experiences for students, promoted expanded multicultural and diversity education opportunities, pioneered programs designed to support faculty development and research, and advanced the scholarship of civic engagement. The Board of Trustees is confident she will pilot this university to great achievements and prominence.”
Lieberman brings an impressive resume as an educator and an administrator, as she returns home to Southern California. Lieberman was born in Baltimore, Md., her family moved to the Covina area when she was 2 and she later attended Covina High School. Her academic career has taken her across the country and around the world, with stops in Portland, Ore., Lafayette, La., Crans, Switzerland, and most recently on Staten Island in New York City.
As Provost at Wagner, and as Vice Provost at Portland State University before that, Lieberman has excelled in the expansion and enhancement of educational methods and programs. She’s also had a good view of day-to-day and year-to-year operation of institutions of higher learning — all of which have equipped her with the skills to provide new vision, enhance educational recognition opportunities, strengthen fiscal performance, heighten faculty research and remain accessible and approachable by students on a personal level.
During the past seven years at Wagner College, Lieberman led the development and expansion of the school’s international program and civic engagement initiatives. She was also instrumental in the growth of programs in support of faculty professional development in the respective areas of teaching and pedagogy, disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship, and the scholarship of civic engagement. Through her efforts, unprecedented growth was seen in Wagner’s physician assistant program, as well as in several major disciplinary accreditations. Lieberman also supported significant improvements in the First Year Program, Intermediate Learning Communities and the Senior Program, and also facilitated growth in a number of academic departments.
Lieberman also made an impact in student affairs and residential life programs, and lent her support to the school’s Diversity Action Council, the Internationalization Action Council. When she started at Wagner, only 8 percent of students studied abroad. By the end of her seven-year tenure, that figure had grown to 25 percent.
Embracing other cultures has been a global pursuit for Lieberman. During her 10 years as professor and Vice Provost and Special Assistant to the President at Portland State University, Lieberman won three prestigious awards for her advances in Hispanic education.
That’s likely to make La Verne a good fit for Lieberman. La Verne has earned Hispanic Serving Institution status and Morgan, the outgoing president has preached the value of diversity for years. Morgan was quick to praise the Board of Trustees for its selection of Lieberman to be his successor.
“Choosing a person to be a leader is an important and challenging assignment. In selecting Dr. Devorah Lieberman, a remarkable academic senior administrator and engaged educator, our Trustees have made an exceptional decision that will benefit La Verne for many years to come,” Morgan said. “Dr. Lieberman shares La Verne’s values and brings a great deal of experience along with tremendous enthusiasm to the position. She is the right person to take this university to new heights and build upon its excellent educational legacy.”