John R. Swallow took office in July 2017 as the 23rd president of Carthage College.
President Swallow brings an entrepreneurial approach and highly relevant experience as a senior administrator, trustee, and faculty member at three small, private liberal arts institutions. He came to Carthage from The University of the South, known informally as “Sewanee” for the Tennessee community in which it’s located.
As chief academic and operating officer, he oversaw notable strides in the university’s curriculum, fundraising, equity and inclusion, enrollment, student life, faculty and staff development, and strategic planning.
Enrolling at age 15, President Swallow graduated from Sewanee in 1989 with honors in both mathematics and English literature. He went on to earn two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in mathematics, all from Yale University.
Joining the faculty at Davidson (North Carolina) College in 1994, he taught there for 17 years — 10 of them in an interdisciplinary humanities program. He was elected leader of the faculty, and students honored him with the Omicron Delta Kappa Teaching Award in 2010.
President Swallow returned to his undergraduate alma mater in 2011. He was appointed Sewanee’s provost the next year and its executive vice president in 2014, holding responsibility for the institution’s strategic planning and execution, day-to-day operations, and operating budget.
Under his leadership, applications increased by 63 percent and diversity among the faculty rose to 18 percent, in line with the student body. Externally, he embraced the unofficial role of “deputy mayor” in Sewanee by overseeing downtown planning and partnering with civic groups.
Even before joining the administration, President Swallow took an active role in Sewanee’s governance as an elected trustee and, later, regent. He moved to cut tuition and fees by 10 percent, which contributed to a spike in visits, enabled admissions officers to more selectively screen applications, and raised the university’s public profile.
More recently, he served as a trustee at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. In 2015, the women’s college implemented the SUMMIT curriculum, which features global learning and leadership development and pairs each student with a personal career mentor and board of advisors.
President Swallow has written articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Huffington Post, plus an undergraduate textbook and more than two dozen research articles in mathematics.
His wife, Cameron, is a high school math and English teacher. They have two children in college, Bard and Sophie.