Karen Holbrook

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Karen A. Holbrook
13th President of
The Ohio State University
In office
Preceded by Edward H. Jennings (interim)
Succeeded by Joseph A. Alutto (interim)
Personal details
Born November 6, 1942
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Washington

Karen A. Holbrook (born November 6, 1942 in Des Moines, Iowa) was the 13th presiding president of The Ohio State University. She took office on October 1, 2002, replacing Interim President Edward H. Jennings. Holbrook earned her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in zoology. After teaching biology at Ripon College, she earned a Ph.D. in biological structure from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1972, then pursued further training in dermatology. She is an alumna of Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

Prior to leading The Ohio State University, Holbrook was a professor of biological structure and medicine at University of Washington School of Medicine, where she became the first woman to be named Associate Dean at the UW School of Medicine, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida, and most recently Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Georgia. At all points in her career Holbrook has continued to research dermatology.

In addition to her academic responsibilities, Holbrook serves on several non-profit boards, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of American Universities, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Association of American Medical Colleges, American College Testing Program, American Council on Education, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and National Council for Science and the Environment, among many others.

Holbrook resigned from Ohio State on June 30, 2007, ending her five-year career there. Joseph A. Alutto, dean of the Max M. Fisher College of Business at Ohio State, replaced Holbrook as an interim president until Gordon Gee took his place as the new president.

While on an interview at Florida Gulf Coast University, Holbrook was quoted as saying about Ohio State, "When you win a game, you riot. When you lose a game, you riot. When spring comes, you riot. African-American Heritage Festival weekend, you riot." This statement angered Ohio State students and alumni and Holbrook later stated that the comments were "melodramatic" [1]

Holbrook is currently Senior Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida.[2] She also serves as the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University University President.[3]


Further reading[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Edward Harrington Jennings (interim)
Ohio State University President
October 1, 2002 – June 30, 2007
Succeeded by
Joseph A. Alutto (interim)