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Dr. Nayef H. Samhat named Wofford College president

Kenyon College provost to serve as 11th president

Dr. Nayef Samhat 382x255
Dr. Nayef H. Samhat

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Wofford College Board of Trustees elected Dr. Nayef H. Samhat as president of the college at their meeting on Tuesday, May 14, held on campus.

Samhat has served as provost and professor of political science and international studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, since 2009.

He will succeed the retiring Dr. Benjamin B. Dunlap this summer. Dunlap has served as president since 2000, and will return after a yearlong sabbatical to continue as the Chapman Family Professor of Humanities.

"We have conducted a thorough, national search for the 11th president of Wofford College," says J. Harold Chandler (Class of 1971), chair of the Wofford Board of Trustees. "Our search committee was led by an able and accomplished individual and its 12 members have done their job in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner. The board of trustees, led by its Human Resources Committee, has completed its review and have voted to accept the mutual recommendation of the Search Committee and the Human Resources Committee in the naming of Dr. Nayef H. Samhat as the next president of Wofford College. We are honored that Dr. Samhat has accepted our call and we are excited and ready to begin our important work together."

Samhat held several positions at Centre College in Danville, Ky., from 1996 to 2009, including associate dean of the college, the Frank B. and Virginia Hower Associate Professor of Government and International Studies, chair of the Division of Social Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Associate coordinator of the Environmental Field Experience Program and an instructor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., from 1995 to 1996.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in international economics from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1983, Samhat received his master of international affairs degree from Columbia University in New York City. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University, where he also received a minor in comparative political economy.

While at Kenyon, Samhat has overseen a number of major grants, including two from the Mellon Foundation: a Critical Languages and Innovative Pedagogy grant to support post-doctoral teaching fellowships for Russian and Arabic languages, and a grant for the Center for Innovative Pedagogy and The Essentials: Renewing General Education within the Curriculum to enhance the endowment for a previously Mellon-funded Teacher Teaching Teachers grant.

Samhat has made a number of presentations, participated in numerous panels and written papers centering on the challenges of the liberal arts college, the role of provost, developing faculty leaders and other topics. He also has written numerous papers, reviews and essays on foreign policy, international relations and global environmentalism. 

A native of Detroit, Mich., Samhat is married to Prema Samhat, director of the Knox Community Hospital Foundation and director of marketing and communications for Knox Community Hospital. They have three daughters, Alia, 26; Jehan, 24; and Leila, 19.