The University of Richmond has announced the appointment of Jacquelyn S. Fetrow as the university’s next provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective July 1. Fetrow currently is dean of Wake Forest College and Reynolds Professor of Computational Biophysics at Wake Forest University. At Richmond, she will also hold an appointment as professor of chemistry.

“Dr. Fetrow brings to the role of provost a distinguished record of academic and administrative leadership and an equally distinguished record of research and teaching,” said President Edward L. Ayers. “She is deeply committed to Richmond’s teacher-scholar model, faculty excellence, rigorous academic experience, and engagement of students in research and co-curricular opportunities that integrate academic life in student life. In short, she comes to our community already grounded in and committed to the principles that define Richmond’s educational experience and that we have sought to advance through The Richmond Promise. I very much look forward to the role she will play in building on our strong foundation in the coming years.”

Fetrow, who has been dean at Wake Forest since 2009, has overseen the liberal arts core of the university, a college of about 4,800 students, 400 faculty, 25 academic departments and numerous interdisciplinary programs. She has ensured a sustained focus on excellence in undergraduate teaching alongside an ambitious agenda for scholarship and research in the college. 

She also oversees Wake Forest’s summer school, established the Office of Academic Advising, fostered development of programs to support the success of first-generation and at-risk students, and oversaw early development of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Center to promote student-initiated scholarly and creative work with close faculty mentoring. 

Fetrow also has helped build ties across Wake Forest’s schools, supporting the ongoing development of a visual arts management program between the college’s art department and the business school, a Humanities Pathway to Medicine program that fosters a humanistic approach to medicine among undergraduates who will proceed to Wake Forest’s medical school, and a summer pre-law program that connects the law school with the college’s communication department. 

While dean, Fetrow continued her own research program that focused on the relationship of protein structure, function and dynamics, aiming to improve the structure-based drug discovery process. She has held numerous NIH and NSF grants throughout her career. She is secretary-treasurer of the Protein Society and a member of the board of directors of QuantumBio, an early-stage biotechnology software company.

“I am delighted to be joining the Richmond community. Its academic excellence, quality of faculty, staff and students, and deep commitment to undergraduate education are inspiring,” said Fetrow. “I look forward to working with President Ayers, Richmond’s outstanding deans and the university community to advance the foundation laid by The Richmond Promise – building on the university’s core excellence in undergraduate education, sustaining and strengthening graduate and professional programs and advancing the institutional commitment to civic engagement, international education and other key elements that define the University of Richmond.” 

Prior to joining the Wake Forest faculty in 2003, Fetrow was chief scientific officer and director of GeneFormatics, a biotechnology software company. She holds a U.S. patent for co-inventing GeneFormatics’ primary technologies. She earlier held appointments in molecular biology at The Scripps Research Institute and in biological sciences and biomedical sciences at the University of Albany.

At Albany, she received both the Chancellor’s and President’s awards for excellence in teaching, and at Wake Forest won an interdisciplinary teaching award with a computer science colleague for development of a multidisciplinary bioinformatics course. Fetrow has continued to teach courses in computational systems biology, molecular biophysics and introductory physics. She is the co-author of more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and has been an editorial board member or associate editor of two journals. 

Fetrow earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Albright College (from which she has received the Distinguished Alumna Award) and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Pennsylvania State University. 

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