Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler, who has led the private, liberal arts college in Colorado Springs for nine years, announced Tuesday that she’s leaving for a job as chief executive officer of National Geographic Society.

She will continue working at the college until August, when she will become the society’s first female CEO. She was selected from hundreds of candidates, according to a news release.

Under Tiefenthaler’s tenure, the campus north of downtown has expanded significantly with construction and remodeling projects.

Those include the expanded and renovated Charles L. Tutt Library, new dorms called the East Campus residential complex, a new fitness center, and renovations of El Pomar Sports Center, South Hall, Cutler Hall and the William I. Spencer Center.

Tiefenthaler also led the planning of Robson Arena, a new ice arena under construction on campus property at Cache la Poudre and Tejon streets for the CC Tigers’ hockey team.

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She also is credited with leading the college’s acquisition of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and creating a space on campus for the Creativity and Innovation program.

Problems with racist incidents in recent years led to efforts for the school to become an anti-racist institution.

In a message to students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents, Tiefenthaler called her post at Colorado College “the greatest honor and joy of my long career in higher education.”

She called students and alumni “independent, curious and adventurous leaders who distinguish the college by the impact they have on the world.”

The Geographic Society said Tiefenthaler was chosen for her “experience as a dynamic innovator and nationally recognized college president and educator” to build on the organization’s 132-year mission of using the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of the world.

Susie Burghart, chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, said Colorado College will be “sorry to lose her, but proud that a member of the CC family will be leading the National Geographic Society at such a critical time for the future of the planet.”

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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