About President Mangelsdorf

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf became president of the University of Rochester on July 1, 2019. An experienced academic leader, Mangelsdorf served as provost at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before coming to Rochester. She is a professor of psychology who is internationally known for her research on social and emotional development. 


President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf

Sarah Mangelsdorf is known for her work on issues of academic quality, educational access, and diversity and inclusion at some of the nation’s leading public and private institutions. She has earned wide recognition for developing important strategic initiatives tailored to the goals of each institution and for taking a leading role in building both financial and institutional support for those goals.

Mangelsdorf served as chief operating officer at Wisconsin, where her responsibilities included oversight of all academic programs and budget planning for 12 schools and colleges, including Education, Business, Engineering, and Graduate Studies, as well as the Schools of Medicine and Public Health and of Nursing, which are affiliated with UW Health, the integrated health system of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

She served as dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University before becoming provost at Wisconsin in 2014. She began her academic career at the University of Michigan and in 1991 moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she later was dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“I’m immensely excited to be joining the University of Rochester, and I am looking forward to working with our outstanding faculty, students, staff, and alumni, and with the members of the greater Rochester community,” said Mangelsdorf at a ceremony to introduce her to the University community on December 17, 2018.

Increased faculty diversity

At Wisconsin, Mangelsdorf oversaw the administration of a pioneering effort to improve access to the state’s flagship university for low- and moderate-income families. Named for the university’s badger mascot, Bucky, and announced in February 2018, Bucky’s Tuition Promise pledges to cover four years of tuition and fees for incoming first-year students who are Wisconsin residents and whose families’ annual household adjusted gross income is $56,000 or less—roughly the state’s median family income.

She led the revival of the faculty cluster hiring initiative, an effort to hire new faculty members under a system designed to build interdisciplinary strengths, emphasize Wisconsin’s historical commitment as a public resource for research and service, create new curricular offerings, and service, and create new curricular offerings.

Also at Wisconsin, Mangelsdorf worked on a program to better diversify the institution’s faculty. Announced fall 2018, the Target of Opportunity Program (TOP) provides funding and other support for schools and departments to recruit outstanding faculty members among historically underrepresented groups. The program puts a particular emphasis on race and ethnicity, and on gender in disciplines where women are underrepresented.

Bolstered financial aid

At Northwestern, she oversaw the largest and most comprehensive academic unit of the private, selective university’s 12 colleges. She began her tenure at the start of 2008’s Great Recession and is credited with leading a strategy that increased the number of endowed chairs and professorships, remodeled core facilities, and bolstered student financial aid at a time when other universities were experiencing cutbacks.

At Illinois, Mangelsdorf was the first woman to serve as the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She also was the first woman to head the Department of Psychology, one of the largest undergraduate and graduate programs at Illinois. Prior to that, she served as associate provost. She was recognized several times for her teaching at Illinois, including receiving the highest award for teaching in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Education and family

A Pennsylvania native, Mangelsdorf graduated from Oberlin College in 1980 and earned her doctorate in child psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1988. She is a third-generation academic: her father, Paul C. Mangelsdorf Jr., was a professor of physics at Swarthmore College and her grandfather, Paul C. Mangelsdorf, was a professor of botany at Harvard University.

She and her husband Karl Rosengren, a developmental psychologist, have two children, Julia Rosengren and Emily Rosengren, and a son-in-law, Richard Lee. Karl Rosengren is joining the University as a tenured faculty member in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology.

President Mangelsdorf (center) is pictured with her husband Karl Rosengren, their children Julia Rosengren (right) and Emily Rosengren, and son-in-law Richard Lee during a visit to the University on December 17, 2018.

Official photos

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf