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Albright College swears in new president, co-founded biotech company

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Jacqueline S. Fetrow (Contributed).
Jacqueline S. Fetrow (Contributed).

Jacqueline S. Fetrow was sworn in as Albright College’s 15th president at a ceremony Friday on the campus in Reading.

In June, Fetrow succeeded Lex O. McMillan III, who led the college for 11 years.

Fetrow is the first Albright alumni to become president of the small, private liberal arts college where she graduated summa cum laude in 1982 with a degree in biochemistry.

She earned a doctorate in biological chemistry from Penn State College of Medicine in 1986.

Fetrow is an administrator in higher education, widely published biochemist and award-winning professor.

She recently served as provost of the University of Richmond, where she was also vice president for academic affairs and a professor of chemistry. As provost, she served as the university’s chief academic officer, with responsibilities that included oversight of the academic mission, tenure and promotion processes, and budget planning.

As dean of Wake Forest College for more than five years, she presided over the expansion of faculty and programming and took a leading role in the university’s $600 million capital campaign. She was a professor of computational biophysics for 11 years at Wake Forest University and has held faculty positions at the University of Albany and the Scripps Research Institute.

In 1999, Fetrow co-founded GeneFormatics Inc., a biotech firm based in San Diego, where she was director and chief scientific officer. At GeneFormatics, Fetrow raised more than $50 million and played a key role in developing company strategy. Cengent Therapeutics Inc. acquired GeneFormatics in 2003.

Fetrow served on the executive council of the Protein Society, an international professional organization, and is serving a second term as the secretary/treasurer. She also serves on the board of directors of QuantumBio Inc., an early stage biotechnology software company, and on the editorial boards of the professional journals “PLoS Computational Biology” and “Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics.”

Fetrow’s ongoing research program focuses on understanding the relationships between protein structure, function and dynamics, with a long-range goal of understanding the mechanisms of protein function and improving processes for structure-based drug discovery.

She has published more than 80 articles and is listed as an inventor on five U.S. patents. Her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Chemical Society.

A native of Camp Hill, Cumberland County, Fetrow is the recipient of several awards and honors, including teaching awards as well as Albright’s Distinguished Alumna Award and Young Alumna Achievement Award.

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