Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson became Westminster College’s 15th president on July 1, 2016.
Before coming to Westminster College, Richardson was provost and professor of communication at Berry College, Mt. Berry, Georgia. Richardson is an accomplished academic and impactful teacher, receiving many accolades including top faculty teaching, scholarship and leadership awards.
A highly regarded scholar, Richardson co-authored Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning, which is now in its 11th edition, and Applied Public Relations: Cases in Stakeholder Management, in its 3rd edition. Richardson served as editor of Journalism and Communication Monographs and was co-editor of the National Forensic Journal.
She is a member of the editorial board of Mass Communication & Society and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. Richardson has published journal articles and book chapters in media ethics, product promotion, visual imagery, communication pedagogy and student-press regulation. In 2014, she was recognized as the Alumna Scholar of the Year by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Georgia.
Richardson is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and has served as head of the Mass Communication and Society Division. In 2012, she received the Professor of the Year award from the Small Programs Division of AEJMC.
She is serving as the 2021-22 Chair of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. A member of the Board of Directors of the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce, she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Forward Lawrence initiative.
Dr. Richardson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Religion/Philosophy, summa cum laude, from Shorter College, a master’s degree in journalism and a doctorate in mass communication from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She completed additional graduate coursework in communication at the University of Oklahoma.
She is married to Dr. Randy Richardson and has two adult stepchildren, Ashton and Lauren.
Dear Friends of Westminster College,
“Refresh the page” reads the message on my personal email website after I log on these days. I’m not sure what has happened to cause the delay in accessing the site, but it’s clear that, as the page always notes, “something went wrong.” But, gratefully, after refreshing the page, it works, and I can read email as normal.
That message has resonated with me over the past two months. With the change in CDC recommendations and a low transmission level on campus and in our immediate area, we were able to “refresh the page” of the spring term on March 12, just as spring break was beginning. We lifted the COVID-related health policies that had been in place for two years, allowing students to return to campus unmasked and ready for renewed engagement on campus.
Activity blossomed in renewed ways. Our choral and instrumental groups resumed more traditional performances; sorority and fraternity members competed in Greek Week, culminating in the first “Sing and Swing” event since 2019. Spring sports competitions were in full gear as students gathered to cheer on lacrosse, softball, track and field, and baseball. Athletes raised more than $3,000 to donate to the Allegheny County Special Olympics organization and helped host a Special Olympics basketball tournament in Memorial Field House. Our speech and debate team unmasked and articulated its way to a team national championship at the Novice National Tournament, claiming nine individual national championships as well.
We renewed our in-person ceremonies and events. URAC—the Undergraduate Research and Arts Celebration—was held on April 27 and involved about a third of the student body in presentations and performances for their fellow students, faculty, staff and guests. Honors Convocation that evening recognized the academic and extracurricular achievements of numerous students. One Commencement (not the four 2020 ceremonies or the two 2021 ceremonies needed to ensure physical distancing) celebrated the resilient Class of 2022. What a delight to be able to have all the graduates together for one united ceremony!
The pause in some of our activities since March 2020 has given us time for analysis and reflection. While the lessons learned have been numerous, an overwhelming reaffirmation of the value of a student-centered, interactive, close knit learning community echoes in the noisy learning spaces from Old Main to the Field Station. As we look ahead, we will acknowledge the lessons gained from the past two challenging years while identifying the opportunities that lie before us to guide us as we thoughtfully plan for what is to come. The needs of students continue to evolve, and we in turn must be willing to adapt as well. As we look toward the 2022-2023 academic year and beyond, conversations with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and Board leadership will help us renew some traditions and perhaps develop some new ones as well.
The strength of the “We in Westminster” that propelled us safely through the pandemic will sustain and inspire us in this process. We will “refresh the page” with hope and faith as we welcome the incoming Class of 2026 and our returning Titans in August. It’s a great time to be a Titan!
Dr. Kathy B. Richardson
President of Westminster College