In high school, La Jerne Terry Cornish didn’t think she’d be able to attend college. Yet thanks to a teacher who believed in her, she was given a chance to excel and is now the president of one.
“I got here because somebody saw something in me, and they helped me grow and develop,” La Jerne says. “And I believe it's my responsibility to do the same for others that was done for me.”
La Jerne is dedicated to fostering a thriving community that builds on students’ talents and passions. That deep appreciation for the transformative impact of educators stems from her own experience.
La Jerne wasn’t planning on attending college—she was focused on caring for her mother, who was ill. But when La Jerne’s history teacher discovered that her promising student was not applying to college, she connected La Jerne with her alma mater, Baltimore’s Goucher College, which awarded La Jerne a full scholarship.
This was only the start of a long academic and professional relationship with the institution. La Jerne earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Goucher (along with a doctorate from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County) and later served as the college’s first tenured Black professor and associate provost for undergraduate studies.