UNC Press director to retire

From staff reportsJanuary 25, 2012 

Kate Douglas Torrey, the first female to serve as director of the University of North Carolina Press, will retire this summer


— Highly decorated publisher Kate Douglas Torrey, the first female to serve as director of the University of North Carolina Press, will retire this summer.

Torrey was named the sixth director in the 90-year history of the publishing house – the oldest university press in the south – in 1992 after three years as its editor-in-chief. Book Business magazine listed her in the “Top 50 Women in Book Publishing” in 2009.

In a scholarly publishing career spanning more than 36 years, Torrey also served the Association of American University Presses as president and on the board of directors. A graduate of Stanford University, she holds a master’s in American History from the University of Chicago.

During her tenure at UNC Press, its books won four Bancroft Prizes from the trustees of Columbia University for book for books about the history of the Americas. She also won two Francis Parkman Prizes (top book on American History), six Fredrick Jackson Turner Awards (a first scholarly book in American History) and three Fredrick Douglass Prizes(book on slavery).

"This is an important time in university press publishing," Torrey said. "There are new developments almost daily in the e-book realm, with the coming aggregation of scholarly book content from JSTOR (an online system for archiving academic journals), and with new devices, platforms, business models, and opportunities to expand the reach of our authors' work. It has been a real privilege to lead this distinguished publishing house, and I know its future is very bright indeed."

A search committee has been formed as part of the process to select a replacement. It will be headed by Eric Muller, a professor at UNC Law and UNC Press‘s Board of Governors.

“She will be difficult to replace, but she has made the Press directorship an attractive position,” said Jack Evans, chair of the Press’s Board of Governors and professor at UNC’s business school.

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