BRYN MAWR Kimberly Wright Cassidy, interim president of Bryn Mawr College since July 2013, was named to the permanent post Wednesday, the college announced.

Cassidy, 50, an expert in psychology, is a native of Elverson, Chester County, and has spent her entire career at Bryn Mawr.

She joined the faculty at the women's college in 1993 and served as provost for six years before stepping into the interim presidency.

Cassidy replaces Jane McAuliffe, who stepped down in June after five years, the shortest presidential tenure in the college's history. Cassidy's appointment follows a national search.

"I'm extremely honored and excited about the future," Cassidy said of taking the helm at Bryn Mawr, which enrolls about 1,300 undergraduate students and 400 students in coed graduate programs.

In the last few years, Bryn Mawr has seen the departure of about a half-dozen high-ranking administrators in addition to McAuliffe. Cassidy said the turnover presents opportunity.

"We have a chance to really shape a team that begins together and kind of buys into the vision," she said.

The college is searching for a chief enrollment officer and a chief financial officer. Several other positions, including dean of the undergraduate college, have interim appointments, as Bryn Mawr waited for a president to be appointed.

"For many of these searches, you needed to have a president in place," Cassidy said.

In her role as interim president, Cassidy said, she focused on reassuring staff, students, and alumni that the college would move forward despite the turnover.

"At a time like this, there are some advantages to having someone who has been here for a while," she said. "I spent a lot of time with various constituencies on the campus, listening and building relationships with them."

As a young aspiring faculty member, Cassidy said, she was attracted to Bryn Mawr because of its emphases on teaching, research, and scholarship.

As provost, Cassidy oversaw an effort to boost curriculum requirements in quantitative skills, writing, and analytical approaches, the college said. Before becoming provost, she chaired the college's psychology department.

She has a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and master's and doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Cassidy and her husband, Bart, a lawyer, live in Merion. They have two children.

"We are delighted to have Kim as our new president," Arlene Joy Gibson, chair of the board of trustees, said in a statement. "She has distinguished herself as a strategic and forward-thinking leader, an open and effective communicator, and a tremendously positive agent of change."

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