As We Say Goodbye to President Hass


Samantha Patterson, Editor in Chief

As we are all aware, President Marjorie Hass will be leaving Rhodes soon to start her new job in Washington DC, as the next President of the Council of Independent Colleges. According to President Hass, “It is probably the leading organization that represents colleges like Rhodes: Independent colleges with a liberal arts focus across the country.” Her time at Rhodes will come to an end later this month. 

Dr. Hass has served this campus since January 2018 as the first female president in our college’s history. Since then, applications for admission have increased by around 25%, and our endowment has surpassed $400,000,000, the highest it has ever been. One of President Hass’ goals was to steadily increase the minimum wage to $15/hour, which will now be reached at the beginning of the 2022 fiscal year. 

While she may be leaving us, her advocating for the betterment of Rhodes College will continue in DC. The Council of Independent Colleges supports consortium programs, helps in leadership development, fundraising, and, according to President Hass, “We serve as the voice for independent higher education, both in the national conversation as thought leaders and helping to engage policy makers in ways that support our students.” 

As for her specific plans in DC that will affect our small college, she states, “I hope to obviously be a champion for Rhodes so being able to bring the good news about Rhodes to a broader audience will be exciting.” Rhodes already interacts with the Council in many ways, but President Hass will continue to work closely with our faculty, staff, and of course students in meaningful ways. 

When asked about how her time here has prepared her for this journey, she responded, “Rhodes is such a strong example of what a college can be and it really sets a model and standard for me. Not that every college should strive to be like Rhodes, but every college should be as effective in meeting its mission and as willing to continue to aim for excellence.” Our college may not be perfect, but Dr. Hass acknowledges and values the times we have been at our best, and the times we have failed and overcame. She lives without regrets from her years at Rhodes because she views each instance as a learning experience that has made her and our community stronger. 

President Hass’ legacy as our first Jewish President, first female President, and one that overcame a battle with breast cancer, will be valued for years to come. When asked what she hopes her legacy will be, she said, “I hope I will be leaving those doors open wider behind me and that there will be opportunities for leaders to flourish at Rhodes from a wide range of backgrounds and bring their own special perspectives and unique visions to Rhodes in ways that make the College stronger.” 

To her successor at the College, she leaves this message: “Rhodes is a very diverse community and there are no simple answers to any challenges or issues that we face. I’ve learned the most when I’ve taken the time to listen to a range of voices before making a decision. I would also advise that once a decision has been made, be bold. Rhodes deserves to have very high aspirations and goals.” 

And to the students, faculty, and staff she leaves behind, she says, “Please know that I have woken up every day determined to do my very best on behalf of Rhodes College and the things that have motivated me will remain with me. Just like our students, moving on doesn’t mean that you’re not part of the Rhodes community, so I will think of myself as a Lynx and hope to see many of you in Washington DC.” 

President Hass has been a major part of our community and says that her door will always be open, even in DC. She will remain part of our history, and will continue to affect our future as a Lynx for life.