Madame President: Carol A. Cartwright

In honor of Women’s History Month, Kent State Today will be looking at the accomplishments of Kent State women who have advanced the cause of women, broken glass ceilings and left a lasting impact on women’s history. 

In 1991, Carol A. Cartwright, Ph.D., made history when she was named president of Kent State University, becoming not only Kent State’s first female president, but also the first woman to serve as president of any Ohio public college or university. 

Kent State President Carol Cartwright pictured at her inauguration in 1991.

 Cartwright served at Kent State for 15 years, until her retirement in 2006. 

President Carol Cartwright at the November 1996 grand opening of Kent State's Women's Resource Center, along with founding Director Molly Merryman, and Diana (Scott) James, who designed the original logo for the Women's Resource Center, which Cartwright is holding.


In 2009, she was named the first female president of Bowling Green State University after serving as interim president in 2008. She retired from BGSU in 2011.  

Carol Cartwright was the first woman president of Bowling Green State University.

She also served for 20 years on the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, including serving as co-chair from 2017 to 2020, when she retired from the commission.

Carol Cartwright speaks in Washington D.C. at a meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in May 2016. (Lisa Heifert/Knight Commission)

 Now living in Napa, California, Cartwright remains a highly respected voice in higher education. 

President Emerita Carol Cartwright and her husband, G. Phillip Cartwright, Ph.D., in 2019.

Cartwright Hall, on the Kent Campus, is named in her honor.  

Cartwright Hall on the Kent Campus.
POSTED: Friday, March 3, 2023 11:19 AM
Updated: Friday, March 3, 2023 03:56 PM
Lisa Abraham