Carl J. Strikwerda, Ph.D.
Carl J. Strikwerda, Ph.D., has served as president of Elizabethtown College, a private, co-educational institution in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, since Aug. 1, 2011.
As President, Strikwerda initiated a new Strategic Plan for Elizabethtown College for 2012-17, based on a planning effort which involved broad participation from students, faculty, alumni, trustees, and community leaders. Drawing on his thirty years of experience in higher education, President Strikwerda is leading initiatives at Elizabethtown to develop high achieving students and to promote global studies, student-faculty research, and real world learning through civic engagement and internships.
President Strikwerda’s essays have appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, and Inside Higher Ed. He serves on the Presidents’ Trust of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, and on the board of directors of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County and WITF, the public radio and television station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as well as on the Development Advisory Board of the Council for European Studies. With Anne-Marie McCartan, he co-edited the book, Deans and Development: Making the Case for Supporting the Liberal Arts and Sciences (Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, 2014).
President Strikwerda is a specialist in modern European history and the history of globalization. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in history from the University of Michigan. He taught at the State University of New York at Purchase and the University of California at Riverside before becoming a faculty member of the University of Kansas’ Department of History in 1987. At the University of Kansas, he was promoted to full professor and named associate dean of liberal arts and sciences in 1998. He left the University of Kansas in 2004 to accept the position of Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he served until taking the position at Elizabethtown in 2011.
Promoting international studies and inter-cultural understanding, and expanding student-faculty research, have been two of the major foci of President Strikwerda’s career. During his tenure at Kansas, he helped create the European studies program and a peace and conflict studies minor. In addition, Strikwerda helped to develop an indigenous nations studies program and forged strong ties with Haskell Indian Nations University, the nation’s largest Native American college. During his seven years at William and Mary, Strikwerda created a student faculty research initiative, initiated a joint degree program with St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, and helped to win grants from the Freeman, Gates, Hewlett and Mellon foundations, as well as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a number of federal agencies.
President Strikwerda has been actively involved in higher education issues and service as a consultant. While serving as dean at William and Mary, Strikwerda was active in the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), the professional association of arts and sciences deans. He served as CCAS treasurer and as a member of its board of directors; he oversaw the organization’s national headquarters, which he brought to William & Mary; and he offered numerous presentations for CCAS at workshops and conferences. He has also served as the historical consultant to the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo. President Strikwerda has given talks to business groups, schools and religious organizations on World War I and the history of globalization, and he has led workshops and seminars on undergraduate research, international studies, and higher education issues.
Over his career, President Strikwerda has taught more than 30 different courses on such topics as World War I, Hitler and Nazi Germany, the history of war and peace, the Holocaust, and globalization in history. At the University of Kansas, he won a Kemper Fellowship for excellence in teaching and led study abroad programs to Europe. At William and Mary, he regularly taught a course on “Global History: The World Since 1500.” At Elizabethtown College, he teaches a course on “Peace and War in a Global World.”
President Strikwerda has published three books and over thirty articles on international history. His books include Consumers Against Capitalism? Consumer Cooperation in Europe, North America, and Japan, 1840 ‐1990 (1999), a collection of essays co‐edited with Ellen Furlough; A House Divided: Catholics, Socialists, and Flemish Nationalists in Nineteenth Century Belgium (1997); and The Politics of Immigrant Workers: Labor Activism and Migration in the World Economy, 1830 to the Present (1998), a volume co‐edited with Camille Guerin‐Gonzales. He currently is working on a book, tentatively titled “The World at the Crossroads: The Great War and the Re‐Making of Modern History.”
His graduate study was supported by fellowships from the Belgian American Educational Foundation and a Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. He has received post‐doctoral grants and fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
President Strikwerda is married to Gail Bossenga, a specialist on eighteenth century French history and formerly an associate professor of history at the University of Kansas and the College of William and Mary. Dr. Bossenga holds a B.A. from Calvin College and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is an appointed scholar‐in‐residence at Elizabethtown College. Carl and Gail have two children: Laurna Strikwerda, who lives in Washington, D.C. where she works as a specialist on the Mideast at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and Tim Strikwerda, who lives in Portland, Oregon where he is studying Japanese in preparation for further graduate study in history. Laurna received her B.A. from St. Olaf College and an M.A. in Mideast Studies from the University of Chicago; Tim received his B.A. from Portland State University and an M.A. in History from McGill University. Laurna studied Arabic in Sana’a, Yemen, Tim studied Japanese in Yokohama, Japan.