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Magdalen has new president



Last modified: Tuesday, February 08, 2011
George Harne was announced yesterday as the fourth president of the College of St. Mary Magdalen, a small Catholic school in Warner known until last year as Magdalen College.

Harne, formerly the college's academic dean, succeeds Jeffrey Karls, who has been president since 1998. Karls will remain at the college as vice president of finance and operations, the school said in a news release.

'I am humbled by the unanimous support of the Board of Trustees,' Harne said in the release. 'I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Jeff Karls who has led the College of Saint Mary Magdalen to a position of national prominence. His love for the College and the Church, and his vision for the future of the College has been an inspiration.'

The change was approved by the college's trustees Thursday, but Harne's new position wasn't announced to students and the public until yesterday, said Tim Van Damm, the college's vice president of advancement and admissions. Harne becomes president immediately, Van Damm said.

'He's a humble, really good man, but also someone with a lot of vision,' Van Damm said.

Karls has been at Magdalen for a quarter century, including as a student, 'and he just felt like it was time for a change,' Van Damm said.

Harne has a doctorate in musicology from Princeton University and master's degrees from Princeton, St. John's College and the University of Washington, according to the college. He is being replaced as academic dean by Mark Discher, Van Damm said.

Magdalen College was founded in 1973 and has fewer than 100 undergraduates, though Van Damm said it hopes to expand to 200 or 300 students within five or six years. Last October, it changed its name to the College of St. Mary Magdalen.