Message from Dr. Karen K. Petersen
I am pleased to join the Hendrix family
and honored to work alongside the faculty and staff as we change lives through
excellence and innovation. Hendrix’s rich history as a leader in experiential learning
has made it the best higher education institution in Arkansas and a top liberal
arts college in America.
We are privileged to educate the young
people upon whose shoulders the responsibility for our future rests, and I am
dedicated to strengthening and preserving the residential liberal arts
experience because it is the best preparation for life in a free society.
Our commitment to the liberal arts
allows Hendrix to honor the traditions that brought us to this moment while
adapting to the challenges of the 21st century, always staying centered on our
life-changing mission to inspire students to lead lives of accomplishment,
integrity, service, and joy.
Dr. Karen K. Petersen was elected the
13th President of Hendrix College by the Hendrix College Board of Trustees in January
2023. She took office on June 1, 2023, following the retirement of President
Emeritus W. Ellis Arnold ’79. She is the second woman to lead Hendrix as
President, following Dr. Ann H. Die Hasselmo, who served from 1992 to 2001.
A native of northwest Arkansas,
Petersen was selected following a comprehensive national search process
involving Hendrix alumni, Board of Trustees members, faculty, staff, and
students. She joins the Hendrix community from the University of Tulsa in Tulsa,
Oklahoma, where she was a professor of political science and Dean of the Henry
Kendall College of Arts and Sciences.
Before joining the University of Tulsa,
Petersen served 16 years at her undergraduate alma mater Middle Tennessee State
University, a large regional comprehensive university in Murfreesboro,
Tennessee. In addition to being a faculty member, she served in three
progressively responsible leadership roles culminating with her tenure as Dean
of the College of Liberal Arts, the largest academic unit.
Petersen earned her master’s degree and
Ph.D. in political science from Vanderbilt University. She and her husband,
Joey Keasler, a northeast Arkansas native, are parents of two children,
including a student-athlete at a residential liberal arts college.