Janet Morgan Riggs was appointed the 14thpresident of Gettysburg College in 2009. She graduated from Gettysburg College with a B.A. in psychology and mathematics and received her M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton University. Riggs returned to Gettysburg College in 1981 as a faculty member in the Psychology Department, where she served as department chair. Riggs was appointed president after serving as interim president in 2008. She retired on June 30, 2019 after devoting more than 40 years to the institution—as a student, professor, presidential assistant, provost, and ultimately president.
Riggs is the recipient of the Gettysburg College Student Senate Faculty Appreciation Award, the Thompson Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Woman of Distinction Award presented by the women students of Gettysburg College. She taught courses in experimental methods, social psychology, and general psychology and conducted and published research in the areas of attitude attribution and expectancy confirmation.
Under her leadership as president, Gettysburg College enhanced its commitment to inclusion and internationalization; strengthened its academic reputation and recruitment efforts; and transformed its campus grounds and facilities. Riggs also spearheaded the most ambitious fundraising effort in the College’s 187-year history—Gettysburg Great: The Campaign for Our College—which raised over $160 million and attracted more than 25,000 donors in support of the institution.
Riggs’s advocacy for private liberal arts education is clear from her leadership in a variety of national and state organizations. She was a founding member of the PA Consortium for the Liberal Arts and served as its chair; she chaired the board of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of PA; and she served on the boards of the PA Campus Compact (now the CCNYPA), the National Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Annapolis Group. Riggs chaired the Centennial Conference and also served on the boards of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and the Gettysburg Foundation. She published numerous articles on issues relating to higher education, and liberal arts education in particular.