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Tuajuanda Jordan, currently a dean at a West Coast college, was named Wednesday as St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s next president.

The college’s board of trustees voted unanimously Saturday to select Jordan as the college’s president after an extensive four-month search process.

Jordan and two other finalists — Kim Mooney, Franklin Pierce University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs and Charles Caramello, University of Maryland’s associate provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school, each visited the St. Mary’s campus earlier this month.

The trustees collected surveys from faculty, staff, students and others after those visits to help make their decision, Gail Harmon, chair of the trustees, said.

Jordan, 53, currently works as the dean of the college of arts and sciences at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. She will officially take over at St. Mary’s College on July 1.

During her visit to campus last week, she told the campus community how her own experiences in college and working during the last three decades would blend with St. Mary’s College.

Jordan said she is a first-generation college student, and was able to succeed thanks to the help and encouragement of professors and others in academia.

She said she felt connected to what’s called The St. Mary’s Way, which she described as a presence on campus that means people care about having a diverse community and being respectful to one another.

“It really is something that speaks to my spirit about life and living,” Jordan said.

Jordan taught chemistry at Xavier University in Louisiana before becoming a college administrator in 2002.

Describing herself as “fair, but absolutely direct,” Jordan said, “I like thinking about big-picture things.”

Jordan received a B.S. in chemistry from Fisk University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Purdue University.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Jordan as the next president of St. Mary’s College,” Harmon said in a prepared statement. “A pool of well-qualified candidates sought the position, and from that pool we have chosen a superlative new leader. Her background includes substantial accomplishments and scholarship in the sciences as well as the development of innovative science education programs. Dr. Jordan will bring added creativity and rigor to the programs of St. Mary’s College.”

Jordan is from Forestville and is married to Eric Heatley. Jordan has two children, Jordan Starck and Patrice Starck Darby, both 23.

jyeatman@somdnews.com