Office of the President

Carmen Twillie Ambar
President, Cedar Crest College

The Board of Trustees appointed Carmen Twillie Ambar the 13th president of Cedar Crest College in May 2008.  President Ambar is nationally known for her record of accomplishment in higher education and, in particular, her commitment to women's education.

In her first year, President Ambar launched a comprehensive strategic planning process designed to reaffirm Cedar Crest as a premier liberal arts college for women. Under her leadership, the College has redefined its mission, dedicating itself to educating the next generation of leaders.   There has been a rethinking of student life to create a more seamless integration with academic affairs; faculty and staff have proposed a number of exciting new initiatives in core focus areas; and a new vision statement, articulating the College's aspirations for the future, expresses the community's optimism as the College looks to its sesquicentennial.

President Ambar came to Cedar Crest after serving as Dean of Douglass College at Rutgers University, where she was the youngest dean in the University's history. She was widely recognized for her efforts in promoting women's global leadership across all areas of the student experience:  developing a cadre of leadership programs, promoting living-learning communities including a human rights house, and securing substantial increases in study abroad funding. She spearheaded efforts to encourage young women to pursue careers in math, science, and technology. She successfully launched the Douglass Alumnae Recruitment Team (DART), re-envisioned the first year academic experience, expanded peer and academic advising services, and oversaw the completion of a $28 million capital campaign.  She received an appointment as Associate Vice President at Rutgers, setting the agenda for a number of issues pertaining to women's education.

President Ambar previously served as Assistant Dean for graduate education at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.  She was responsible for many key administrative and academic functions, including curriculum development, management of joint degree programs, and academic support and advising programs for students. She also directed the school's summer program for undergraduate students of color.

Prior to her work in higher education, she served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York from 1994-98.  In her role as an attorney for the City of New York, she participated in several high-profile cases in which she defended the city against constitutional challenges to legislative regulations and also prosecuted criminal violations of the administrative code.

In the early 1990s, she served as a program assistant for Newark Fighting Back Inc., co-writing a successful $3-million proposal to develop a comprehensive approach to reducing the demand for illicit drugs and alcohol in the city of Newark. She also aided in the conceptualization and implementation of more than 75 programs, including drug treatment for women and children, and community policing. She also served as an intern in the governor’s office in her native Arkansas, where she prepared memoranda on various issues for then Governor Bill Clinton.

President Ambar is the prior chair of the Public Leadership Education Network ("PLEN") Board and the prior vice-chair of the New Jersey Advisory Commission on the Status of Women. She was appointed by Governor Corzine to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and the New Jersey Schools Development Authority Board of Directors. 

She has received numerous awards for her work in higher education and in the community.  The New Jersey Women’s Political Caucus presented her with the Mary Philbrook Award for exceptional contributions to the public interest.  She also received the Executive Women of New Jersey Salute to the Policy Makers Award, the Wynona M. Lipman Award, and the Woodrow Wilson School's Edward P. Bullard Distinguished Alumnus Award.  She is an honorary inductee to the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, President Ambar holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from the Edmund A. Walsh School at Georgetown University, a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a law degree from Columbia School of Law.  President Ambar is married to Dr. Saladin Malik Ambar and they have two-year-old triplets, Gabrielle, Luke, and Daniel.