Joan Hinde Stewart is a native of Brooklyn, New York, where she attended St. Joseph’s College. She received a PhD from Yale University in French, specializing in eighteenth-century literature. Joan was the first member of her family to attend college. Her education was made possible by the loving sacrifices of her parents and sisters and by the generous scholarships she was awarded by St. Joseph’s, the state of New York, and Yale. Joan believes deeply in the importance of making higher education accessible to able students regardless of their financial circumstances.
During her thirteen-year tenure (2003-2016) as its nineteenth (and first woman) president, Hamilton College reinstated need-blind admissions (while continuing to meet 100% of demonstrated need), doubled its financial aid budget, and became a measurably more diverse institution. In 2011 Joan received the Posse Foundation Star Award. Prior to her presidency at Hamilton, she held appointments at the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State University and Wellesley College.
Joan has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Humanities Center, among others. She has published numerous books, articles and essays and has lectured widely. She serves on the board of the National Humanities Center and is a director of the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. Her current research interests include Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette.