A conversation with Interim President Jill Marsteller

Amelia Kunko (amkunko@ursinus.edu)

Jill Marsteller, the new Interim President of Ursinus College, has Bear roots that run deep. An alum, she first worked for the college in 1984 as a faculty member, and has also been a staff member and senior administrator. Plus, she’s the parent of an Ursinus graduate! 

“Those various lenses give me different views of the college; I hope they also give me better understanding, empathy for and identity with a wide range of people that comprise the Ursinus family,” says Marsteller. She has witnessed how Ursinus’s core educational goals have been carried out throughout the years. “I am proud of the high-quality education I received and how it changed my life…and I am especially proud that in 152 years of history, Ursinus remains true to its liberal arts core mission.” In the midst of change, “Ursinus remains adaptive and relevant, and … continues to reflect its strongest quality: relationships, especially those between the faculty and students,” she explained. 

Marsteller has made history as the first woman to lead Ursinus. “I am hopeful that I inspire all students, but especially female students, to be their truest and most aspirational selves,” she said. “Ursinus has always demonstrated that there is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish — we’ve had computational scientists, nationally recognized athletes, faculty who’ve changed the trajectory of their fields.”

She hopes to make changes as a leader because “during my time among the college’s leadership and now, as president, I have articulated repeatedly that I want to ‘Put People First.’  We should always want to recognize, reward, and support the faculty and staff who make that possible.” 

This semester, along with the past several, have been anything but normal. As we continue to navigate how to live and work together amidst the pandemic, Marsteller acknowledges these challenges. She remains confident that we as a college community can continue to work through them together. “I know we face the challenges of COVID, and we will confront difficult moments that are yet unknown. But I believe in the inherent power of our community to come together, talk across and through differences, embrace the best essence of who we are, and not be afraid any longer to boldly proclaim it,” Marsteller concluded. 

We cannot wait to see what she has to offer to the current and future community of Ursinus College. As the saying goes, once a Bear, always a Bear.