Augustana College to inaugurate 9th president, host street party

Andrea Talentino
Augustana College will host an inauguration ceremony for its new president, Andrea Talentino, on Saturday, Oct. 15. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Augustana College in Rock Island will inaugurate its ninth president, Andrea Kathryn Talentino, in an outdoor ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, on the campus Quad, during Homecoming weekend.  Seating will be limited. Guests may bring lawn chairs and blankets.

A street party will follow to celebrate this new chapter in the college’s history.

Ms. Talentino, who joined the college July 1, said she is thrilled for the opportunity to celebrate with members of the campus and Quad-Cities community.

“I am really looking forward to inauguration weekend, which is so amazing because it’s only the the ninth time in 162 years it has happened at Augustana,” said Ms. Talentino. “We’re planning an incredible event that will combine a formal ceremony befitting such a rare occasion with a great party, both of which the community can enjoy. It really speaks to how we see the connection between the college and the community where we live and help serve.”

Those attending the inauguration ceremony are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets as seating at the ceremony will be limited. The ceremony will be livestreamed for those unable to attend.

The ceremony will be emceed by distinguished alumni Angie Mitchum Sharp, a 2008 graduate, and Ryan Jenkins, a 2018 graduate. John Murabito, chair of the Augustana College Board of Trustees and a member of the Class of 1980, will lead the investiture. 

Special speakers include Bill Dorfman, former director of Camp Walt Whitman. It was at this New Hampshire camp where Ms. Talentino’s leadership skills were first recognized and where she began to imagine herself as a leader, an Augustana newsletter said.

The street party immediately following the ceremony will offer festivities on 7th Avenue from Centennial Hall to the Lindberg Center. A map of the street closure is available here.

The street party includes food, music, children’s activities and more. Most food items will cost $1 (cash only), with all dollars donated to the Rock Island High School Resource Room. It provides clothing, food and hygiene items to students and families of the Rock Island-Milan School District.

Augustana announced on Dec. 7, 2021, the selection of Ms. Talentino to succeed Steven C. Bahls, who retired after nearly two decades of service. Ms. Talentino has spent the last several months connecting with the Rock Island campus and Quad-Cities community. She was drawn to Augustana for a shared vision of creating inclusive, holistic, challenging and integrated student experiences that lead to transformational opportunities.

Prior to serving Augustana, Ms. Talentino was the provost of Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. She also served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Norwich University in Vermont. She was an associate dean at Drew University in New Jersey, held a faculty position at Tulane University and a postdoctoral position at Princeton University.

Talentino earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Yale University, then completed a master’s and doctorate in political science from UCLA. While serving as dean at Norwich, she earned an MBA with a concentration in organizational leadership.

Born in Binghamton, N.Y., Talentino grew up in nearby Cortland, N.Y. She is married to Thomas Tarnow, a public interest attorney, and they have two children: Lucien, 15, and Julia, 11.

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