Karen A. Holbrook became the Interim President at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on April 18, 2016. She is a higher education consultant and the Senior Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida, where she was, until recently, the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation then Senior Vice President for Global Affairs and International Research.
Dr. Holbrook was the 13th presiding President of The Ohio State University, serving from October 1, 2002 until June 30, 2007. During her five year career as President, Dr. Holbrook helped Ohio State realize its vision as a truly great research and teaching university.
Dr. Holbrook came to Columbus from The University of Georgia, where since 1998 she served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost - as well as Professor of Cell Biology and Adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. At Georgia, she helped create the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute, two new colleges, the New Media Institute, and played a key role in developing the University's Strategic Plan, which among other things includes a strong commitment to diversity and ambitious diversity goals. She strongly supported the efforts of faculty and research leaders to successfully expand Georgia's federal research funding.
Dr. Holbrook was an Instructor and later Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Associate Chairman, and Professor of Biological Structure and Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where she gained a national reputation for her expertise in dermatology. Showing the leadership skills that characterize her career, she also served as Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs.
In 1993, Dr. Holbrook moved to the University of Florida at Gainesville, where she served as Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School as well as Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Medicine (dermatology). While there, she organized and chaired a meeting co-sponsored by the Governor's Office, the University System, private enterprise, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) called, "The Future of Science and Technology in Florida: High Tech Florida Means Business."
Her honors and awards include the Kung Sun Oh Memorial Prize, Yonsei Medical College of Seoul, Korea; Fellow, AAAS; the Distinguished Contribution to Research Administration Award from the Society of Research Administrators International; and the 34th Annual Marion Spencer Fay National Board Award of the Medical College of Pennsylvania to the Distinguished Woman Physician/Scientist in 1996.
Throughout her career, she has held leadership roles and participated extensively in the activities of professional and honorary societies, including the AAAS, where she is a Member of the Board of Directors and Fellow; the American Association of Universities; the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges; and the Association of American Medical Colleges. She is on the Board of Directors of ACT, the American Council on Education, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and the National Council for Science and the Environment. Her editorial and publication activities are extensive, and her service on faculty committees, economic development groups, search committees and the like are impressive. She has been deeply involved in national and regional efforts to strengthen graduate education in America and has been active in economic development partnerships at the community and state levels.
In Ohio, Dr. Holbrook was appointed by Governor Taft as a Member of the Commission on Higher Education and the Economy and the Steering Committee for the Third Frontier Bond Initiative Campaign. She also chairs the Science and Technology Campus Corporation Board and serves on the Boards of Directors of Huntington Bancshares, Reservoir Venture Partners, Columbus Technology Council, The Columbus Partnership, Center of Science and Industry, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, Central Ohio United Negro College Fund, United Way of Central Ohio, Greater Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, CEO's for Cities, and the Columbus School for Girls. She serves as Managing Trustee of the Capitol South Urban Redevelopment Corporation.
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Holbrook earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1963 and 1966, respectively. After teaching biology at Ripon College for three years, she earned a Ph.D in biological structure from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1972 and pursued postdoctoral training in the Department of Dermatology.
She is married to Jim Holbrook, a retired oceanographer and past Deputy Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Research Laboratory in Seattle. She and her husband have one son, James.
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