About President Hannigan

Robyn E. Hannigan, a globally recognized environmental scientist and thought leader, was appointed the 19th president of Ursinus College by the Ursinus Board of Trustees. She began her presidency on July 1, 2022.

President Robyn Hannigan

A distinguished scholar, entrepreneur, and academic leader, Hannigan became president of Ursinus College following her service as provost at Clarkson University from 2019 to 2022. Ursinus College, one of only 44 colleges in the U.S. with the distinction of being a College That Changes Lives, centers its mission in the transformational power of the liberal arts in advancing sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing concerns.


One of her first acts at Ursinus was to sign the international Okanagan Charter, embedding well-being into every aspect of campus life. Her efforts to promote wellness led to Ursinus becoming the first college recognized as a Recovery-Friendly Workplace, further positioning the college as a key partner to elected leaders and policymakers on healthcare and environmental issues.

She has earned wide recognition for developing and implementing strategic initiatives tailored to building both financial and institutional support for student success, research, and community engagement. A successful fundraiser and economic development partner, she has raised significant philanthropic support for facilities, scholarships, and research at the institutions she has served.


Hannigan is the recipient of numerous national awards including the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences and induction as fellow to both the Geological Society of America and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hannigan is member of the board of directors of World Media Foundation, Inc. (Living on Earth Radio) and the Blue Institute and serves on several federal, state, and local committees and boards centered on economic development and the environment.


Hannigan earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of New Jersey, a master’s in geological science from the University at Buffalo, and a master’s and Ph.D. in earth and environmental science from the University of Rochester. She has translated her spirit for innovation into several start-up companies, founded with her students, and continues to be an active, prolific researcher and mentor, garnering over $32 million in external funding and producing over 100 peer-reviewed publications with her students.


Though these professional achievements are noteworthy for transforming her field of work, Robyn speaks about how these opportunities opened greater doors for her students, resulting in meaningful partnerships and friendships that have grown over time. Her willingness to engage with every student, providing untraditional avenues for growth and potential, will propel Ursinus forward at a time when society is seeking out our most creative and inventive problem solvers.


Robyn lives in Collegeville with her husband, ecologist Alan Christian, Ph.D., her 11-year-old daughter, Cami, and their three dogs (Skippy, Freyja, and Astro).

President’s Office News

Wicked Excited: A First-Gen Student’s Journey to a College Presidency

Robyn E. Hannigan takes the helm as Ursinus College’s 19th president during a time when the success of every student—backed by a brand-new strategic plan—is front and center. It’s something that personally resonates with Hannigan, whose career path can be defined by one word: opportunity.

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