Marjorie Hass was named the 15th president of Austin College in July 2009 and continues in that role until July 2017, when she will assume the presidency of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Hass has strengthened a firm foundation of success at Austin College, promoting a culture of academic excellence and access to legendary teaching.
President Hass has brought strong direction to the campus, combining the heart of a teacher with her keen business insight. Guiding the development of the College’s strategic plan, “Adding Value to a Changing World,” she has worked with trustees, faculty, staff, and students to implement initiatives that have enhanced the profile of the institution at all levels.
Since 2009, Dr. Hass has employed a transparent and disciplined approach to financial stability as the College has successfully navigated a recessionary economy. A significant improvement in the College’s financial position during the president’s tenure is evidenced by fundraising exceeding $80 million, including a recent gift of $7 million, a portion of which establishes the Austin College Scarbrough Center for Writing.
Under her leadership, the footprint of the campus has been enhanced by the construction of high-end attractive housing along two major bordering avenues of the college. A host of physical plant improvements have been achieved during her term, surpassed only by the construction of the IDEA Center, a 100,000-square-foot LEED® Gold certified science complex housing the largest research-grade telescope in the region.
Dr. Hass is an accomplished spokesperson for the significant influence of liberal arts education upon individuals and local and world communities. Engaged with higher education issues beyond her own campus, Dr. Hass is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and is the past chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). She also recently completed her term on the board of the Council for Independent Colleges (CIC). Dr. Hass is a presidential sponsor for the Texas Women in Higher Education conference and is active in the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT). Previously she served on the NCAA Division III Management Council and the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. Locally she currently serves on the Texoma Medical Center (TMC) Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees of The Hockaday School in Dallas.
Prior to her presidency at Austin College, Dr. Hass served as provost at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She began her career at Muhlenberg in 1993 as a member of the philosophy faculty and also served as director of Muhlenberg’s Center for Ethics. Her scholarship and teaching focus on issues in philosophy of language and philosophy of logic.
Dr. Hass earned her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Illinois, Urbana‐Champaign.
The president’s husband, Lawrence Hass, Ph.D., is a professor of humanities at Austin College, former professor of philosophy and theater arts at Muhlenberg College, and an internationally celebrated sleight‐of‐hand magician and teacher of magicians. The couple has two adult children: Cameron, 27, a program analyst at Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, New Jersey, and Jessica, 22, a graduate student in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Arlington.