Celebration Garden

Karen R. Lawrence

Department: President's Office

In the News: Jan. 30, 2020 - Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden discuss the enduring value and changing role of libraries in 'Why It Matters' at the Huntington

Karen R. Lawrence assumed her position as the ninth president of The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens on Sept. 1, 2018, following a decade as president at Sarah Lawrence, a small, highly regarded liberal arts college in Yonkers, NY. At Sarah Lawrence she is credited with weathering the 2008 financial crisis with smart management and effective leadership, moving the institution into a period of strong growth and performance as well as increased student body diversity. She led the most successful fundraising campaign in the college's history, culminating in the building of the Barbara Walters Campus center, scheduled to open in 2019 (and the largest gift in the college's history from one of its most famous alumni).

President Lawrence's Huntington position marks her return to southern California, where she led the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as its dean from 1998 to 2007. Throughout her career, she has been a forceful advocate for the liberal arts. She currently serves on the board of The National Humanities Center in the Research Triangle, North Carolina.

A widely respected English and Irish literature scholar and teacher, President Lawrence continued to teach at both Sarah Lawrence and The University of California, Irvine. She has served as president of the International James Joyce Foundation and the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature. Her books include The Odyssey of Style in Ulysses (1981;1986); Decolonizing Tradition: New Views of 20th Century "British" Literary Canons (1991); Penelope Voyages: Women and Travel in the British Literary Tradition (1994); Transcultural Joyce (1998); Who's Afraid of James Joyce? (2010); and Techniques for Living: Fiction and Theory in the Work of Christine Brooke-Rose (2010). She currently serves as Adjunct professor of English at The University of Southern California.

President Lawrence is married to Peter F. Lawrence MD, who serves as Chief of the Vascular and Endovascular Division and director of the Gonda Vascular Center at UCLA. The Lawrences have two grown children, Andrew and Jeffrey.