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Gregory Vincent
Dr. Gregory Vincent (Hobart and William Smith Colleges | CC BY-SA 4.0)

A former Penn graduate has resigned from his position as the president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.  following allegations that he plagiarized his doctoral dissertation that he published as a graduate student at Penn. 

Gregory Vincent, who graduated from Penn's Graduate School of Education in 2004, was just elected as the president of Hobart and William Smiths last April. He moved to the small, private liberal arts college after working for years as the vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas, Inside Higher Ed reported

On April 13, in the face of mounting backlash following allegations that he plagiarized portions of his 2004 dissertation, Vincent resigned. 

The controversy began when an anonymous person emailed officials at Hobart and William Smith, staff at The Chronicle of Higher Education, and faculty at Penn, alleging that Vincent plagiarized at least six portions of his 2004 dissertation, WXXI News reported

“After a great deal of thought and consideration, in the best interests of my family and myself, and for the love of Hobart and William Smith, I have decided to tender my resignation in order to explore new opportunities,” Vincent said in a statement. “This has been a difficult decision because I believe strongly in the value of a Hobart and William Smith education and the trajectory that we have been mapping during the past year.”

The Herald, the student-led publication of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, verified on April 6 that all six of the areas of plagiarism that the anonymous tipper mentioned were indeed copied from other works without quotation marks. 

In an email to Hobart and William Smith students on April 4, the Chair of the Board of Trustees Thomas Bozzuto said that Penn was also conducting its own investigation into the allegations. 

Until these reports, Vincent was known primarily for being an expert in the field of civil rights and social justice. At the University of Texas at Austin, Vincent helped to defend the use of affirmative action in the landmark Fisher v. Texas Supreme Court case.

In March 2016, the Penn Graduate School of Education Alumni Association named Vincent the Penn GSE Educator of the Year award which “recognizes an outstanding graduate who demonstrates unusual involvement in and commitment to identifying and helping to resolve school problems and current issues in education.”

Pat McGuire, a professor emeritus of economics at Hobart, will serve as interim president while the administration begins a search for a new candidate.