Jo Allen is the first alumna to assume leadership of the 121-year-old institution, one of the largest private colleges for women in the United States.
In addition to inauguration events, Meredith students, faculty, staff and alumnae were asked to pledge to complete at least five hours of service in honor of President Allen.
Allen was named the eighth president of the college on April 18, 2011, and officially began her tenure on July 1, 2011. During her first year as president, Allen initiated a new strategic planning process, forged connections with business and community leaders, and met with hundreds of alumnae throughout the state and region.
Prior to her appointment as president of her alma mater, Allen served as senior vice president and provost and professor of English at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. There she oversaw academic and student affairs on four campuses in two states for approximately 6,500 students and more than 700 full- and part-time faculty.
A North Carolina native, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Meredith College. She earned her master's degree from East Carolina University and her doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Both her M.A. and her Ph.D. were in English literature, with an emphasis in technical and professional communication.
She served as tenured associate professor of English at East Carolina University and tenured associate professor in English at North Carolina State University. Other leadership positions held by Allen at universities where she taught include special assistant to the dean, vice chancellor, assistant dean and interim vice provost.