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Margee Ensign announces resignation from Dickinson College; Judge John E. Jones to take over as interim president
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Margee Ensign announces resignation from Dickinson College; Judge John E. Jones to take over as interim president

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Dickinson College President Margee M. Ensign Friday announced her resignation effective June 30.

John E. Jones III, chief judge of the U.S. Middle District of Pennsylvania and a member of the Dickinson College class of 1977, was named by the college's board of trustees to serve a two-year term as interim president. Jones also serves as the chairman of the board of trustees for Dickinson College.

Ensign said she is returning to Yola, Nigeria, this summer to become president of American University of Nigeria, a role she previously held before becoming president of Dickinson in 2017.

“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had to make many difficult decisions, but the decision to leave Dickinson is by far the most difficult of my career," Ensign said in a news release announcing the resignation. "When I was asked to return to AUN, I felt called to continue the education and peace work we had started through the university."

In the release, she said the institution has been without a president for six months and conditions for education are deteriorating in the region.

"I will try to make a difference, to work for the common good,” Ensign said. “In its 238-year history, Dickinson has never wavered in its mission to educate leaders for our democracy — leaders who will work for the common good. It is the education our world needs most at this moment, and it has been a privilege to lead Dickinson through these unprecedented times."

Ensign said she looks forward to working with Jones to ensure a smooth transition.

"He cares deeply about his alma mater. As an alumnus, he has championed and supported the liberal arts. As board chair, John serves Dickinson with a steadfast commitment. I consider him a mentor and friend,” Ensign said.

Jones, a nationally recognized legal scholar, will retire from the bench this summer and will also resign from Dickinson’s board, which he has chaired for four years. He was appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2002 and has presided over numerous high-profile cases, including the landmark 2005 case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, for which he ruled it unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum.

In 2014, Jones resolved the matter of Whitewood v. Wolf by striking down as unconstitutional Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. Prior to becoming a judge, Jones served as co-chair for the transition team for Governor-elect Tom Ridge and in 1995 became chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. In 2006, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

“I look forward to continuing the momentum President Ensign has created,” Jones said. “She achieved so much in her four years as president. Her visionary leadership and steady hand have catapulted Dickinson to the forefront of liberal-arts colleges.”

Ensign became Dickinson’s 29th president on July 1, 2017.

Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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