John R. Swallow is the 23rd president of Carthage College.
A scholar with more than 25 years of teaching, research, and leadership experience at small liberal arts colleges, President Swallow has a deep commitment to innovative education. Since taking office in July 2017, he has developed comprehensive strategies to guide the College’s work on several fronts.
Through his vision, Carthage has implemented a variety of forward-thinking initiatives. He has overseen the launches of The Aspire Program™ for career development, several academic programs that align with student interest, and three new NCAA Division III sports.
President Swallow stood up for cost transparency, going against the grain to implement a tuition reset. Determined to make a Carthage education accessible to the widest possible pool of talented students, he lowered the “sticker price” by 30 percent.
Similarly, he has worked to ensure an equitable and inclusive educational environment. President Swallow convened an advisory board of student, faculty, and staff representatives dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and directed each department on campus to design and carry out a diversity-focused project. Empowering its passionate alumni network, Carthage has raised millions of dollars in targeted campaigns to support women and students of color.
President Swallow laid out an overarching strategic framework to inform Carthage’s decision-making in the coming years as demographic changes make higher education increasingly competitive. United by the theme “Partnerships for a Rising Tide,” it emphasizes mutually beneficial connections with community partners.
In that collaborative spirit, President Swallow serves on the board of directors for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, the emerging Performing Arts Center of Kenosha, and a mix of state and national higher education networks. He’s also involved in collaborative efforts to reduce achievement gaps and improve outcomes through the Higher Education Regional Alliance, Higher Expectations for Racine County, and Building Our Future in Kenosha. President Swallow also serves on the board of Agnes Scott College, a women’s college in Decatur, Georgia, that is recognized nationally for innovation, social mobility, and students’ first-year experience.
Enrolling at age 15 in The University of the South — known informally as “Sewanee” for the Tennessee community in which it’s located — President Swallow graduated in 1989 with honors in both English literature and mathematics. He also holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in mathematics, all from Yale University.
The young scholar taught on the faculty at Davidson (North Carolina) College for 17 years, spending sabbatical years in Israel and France. He won the Omicron Delta Kappa Teaching Award in 2010. Previously involved in Sewanee’s governance as an elected trustee and regent, President Swallow joined the administration in 2011 and rose to chief academic and operating officer before accepting the presidency at Carthage.
President Swallow has published articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and The Hechinger Report, plus an undergraduate textbook and more than two dozen research articles in mathematics.
His wife, Cameron, has extensive experience as a secondary school math and English teacher. She is a board member for several area not-for-profits and Wisconsin’s state co-coordinator for Better Angels, a nationwide effort to depolarize political conversation. Mrs. Swallow is part of bluegrass band Flat Creek Highway, which plays at venues across the region.
The couple has two grown children, Bard and Sophie, and a basset hound, Watson.