Audrey Bilger is currently serving as the 16th president of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She was appointed to the position in 2019 and is Reed’s first woman president. Her previous position was at Pomona College, in Claremont, California, where she served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College and Professor of English.
Bilger earned an MA and a PhD in English from the University of Virginia and a BA in philosophy from Oklahoma State University. She was a member of the English faculty at Oberlin College and professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College. Bilger held a number of leadership positions during her 22-year tenure at Claremont McKenna, including founding faculty director for the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, chair of the literature department, coordinator of gender studies, and member of the board of trustees academic affairs committee. While at Claremont McKenna College, Bilger was selected to participate in the American Council on Education Fellows program, the nation’s leading program for preparing academic leaders for presidencies. Bilger currently serves on the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) Policy Analysis & Public Relations Committee (PAPR), and is secretary of the board for the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities (OAICU). Additionally, she is a member of the LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, and joined the Partnership Council of All Hands Raised, a Portland, Oregon-based non-profit organization focused on breaking down barriers in education.
Bilger is a prolific author of scholarly books, articles, and chapters, as well as reviews, creative nonfiction, and journalism for the popular press. Her acclaimed work focuses on comedy, Jane Austen, the English novel, feminist theory, popular culture, and gender and sexuality. Her most recent book, Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, co-edited with Michele Kort, was a 2013 Lambda Literary Award finalist. She is the author of Laughing Feminism: Subversive Comedy in Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen. She serves on the Ms. magazine Committee of Scholars and was the Gender and Sexuality section editor of The Los Angeles Review of Books. Her work, which has appeared in Ms., The Paris Review, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Los Angeles Times, has frequently covered issues pertaining to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.
Bilger’s spouse, Cheryl Pawelski, is a 2-time Grammy-award winning producer and co-founder of Omnivore Recordings.