1984: Dr. Leventhal

1984: Dr. Ruth Leventhal Earned Position as First Female Provost and Dean

Dr. Ruth Leventhal became Capitol Campus’ first female provost and dean on July 1, 1984 and held the position for 10 years (2.5 years longer than the average tenure of the four provost/deans before her). She was one of 150 well-qualified applicants already working at the dean level or higher. The president of Hunter College, where she previously worked, said she was “one of the most talented young leaders in higher education.”

No women had even applied for the position before 1978, and even then there were only 10 women out of 120 applications.

Leventhal’s time at Capitol Campus wasn’t without its challenges. For example, students complained of the budget cuts in the early 90s, which included cutting all varsity sports from the college. Also because of budget woes, her administration implemented fees to park on campus. The campus community was especially discontent when Dr. Peter Parisi, assistant professor of humanities with many roles and responsibilities on campus, resigned after Leventhal and the assistant provost denied him tenure.

Despite the challenges, Leventhal made many positive contributions to Capitol College and took most pride in recruitment of excellent faculty, physical development of the campus, outreach programs that created more partnerships with local communities. One of her first actions as the provost/dean was to recruit and retain minorities and women for faculty and staff positions. Other accomplishments include

  • Facilitation of the new campus bookstore among other renovations
  • New Ph.D. program in public administration – which was the first non-University Park doctoral program
  • New schools in public affairs, business administration, and science, engineering and technology
  • Non-smoking policy on campus
  • On-campus childcare facility

After stepping down from her provost/dean role in 1994, she taught at the College of Medicine at Hershey until 2002 when she officially retired. She then enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, pursuing her avocation as a sculptor.


  • 1961 B.S. medical technology, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1973 Ph.D. parasitology, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1981 MBA, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania

Prior Roles

  • 1973 Professor at University of Pennsylvania
  • 1977 Acting dean of the School of Allied Medical Professions at University of Pennsylvania
  • 1981 Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Hunter College in the City University of New York


  • Medical Parasitology : A Self-Instructional Text
  • Closing the Earnings Gap in Pennsylvania : Comparing Race and Gender Differentials among Full-Time Employees
  • Male-Female Earnings Gap in Pennsylvania

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