As chief executive officer at the National Geographic Society, Dr. Jill Tiefenthaler oversees the development and implementation of the Society’s mission-driven work and programmatic agenda. She leads the global community of Explorers: scientists, innovators, educators, and storytellers—in a mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Jill sits on the Society’s Board of Trustees and the board of National Geographic Partners.
Before joining the National Geographic Society, Jill spent nine years as the president of Colorado College. During this time, she helped set a new direction for the school, executed the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the college’s history, and developed and implemented a comprehensive strategic plan that expanded and cultivated an engaged and globally connected academic community. She developed a Campus Master Plan, executed an alliance to make the world-class Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center part of the college, and led the college’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. She also drove significant increases in diversity among the faculty and student body and led the campus community in an external review of racism at the college that resulted in an Antiracism Implementation Plan.
Before leading Colorado College, Jill was provost of Wake Forest University, where she redesigned the admissions process to include an SAT-optional policy, integrated the university’s undergraduate and graduate business schools, established the Institute for Public Engagement and The Humanities Institute, and implemented “Living Our Values,” a plan to strengthen residential life and campus vibrancy.
Jill began her academic career at Colgate University, where she was a full professor of economics before holding various administrative roles, including consultant to the president; associate dean of the faculty; founding director of the Upstate Institute; and chair of the department of economics.
Originally from Iowa, Jill grew up on a farm and worked for her family’s popcorn business before attending Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.