ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Augustana College inaugurated Andrea Talentino as its ninth president in school history on Saturday.
Talentino took over the role in July following the retirement of Steve Bahls. She said she is ready to embark on her new journey.
"Where do I even start?" said Talentino. "I think it's really exciting to think about the future. I want to make sure we're focusing on our partnership with the community alongside a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Talentino is the first woman to serve as the school's president.
Since taking over the role, Talentino said she has spent time connecting with the Quad Cities communities. She said she was drawn to Augustana due to her vision of creating a student experience that leads to transformational opportunities in the real world.
"The concept of being a good neighbor and being part of Rock Island is important," said Talentino."We need to think about our campus as connecting to the city. We are part of the Quad City community and we need to embrace that."
"She enjoys being part of the community," said Bill Dorfman, who spoke at the ceremony. "She embraces it, and you can count on her being everywhere and all around the campus."
Prior to Augustana, Talentino was the provost of Nazareth College in Rochester, New York and also served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Norwich University in Vermont. She has earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Yale University and then completed her master's and doctorate degrees in political science at UCLA.
The celebration coincided with Augustana's homecoming weekend.