President Kiss

President's Biography

Elizabeth Kiss (pronounced “quiche”) began her tenure as the eighth president of Agnes Scott College in August 2006. A 1983 graduate of Davidson College, Dr. Kiss received a B.Phil. and D.Phil. in philosophy from Oxford University in England. A Rhodes Scholar, she has held fellowships at the Harvard Program in Ethics and the Professions, the National Humanities Center and Melbourne University’s Centre on Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. She specializes in moral and political philosophy and has published on moral judgment and education, human rights, ethnic conflict and nationalism, feminist debates about rights and justice and justice in the aftermath of human rights violations. She co-edited and contributed to Debating Moral Education: Rethinking the Role of the Modern University (Duke University Press, 2010).

Before coming to Agnes Scott, she was the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics and an associate professor of the practice of political science and philosophy at Duke University. As the founding director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Dr. Kiss helped to build a university-wide initiative to support the study and teaching of ethics and to promote moral reflection and commitment in personal, professional, community and civic life. Previously she taught at Princeton University, Randolph-Macon College and Deep Springs College.

Dr. Kiss is a trustee of Duke University and the Woodruff Arts Center and serves on the national steering committee for the Climate Leadership Network. She is a member of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities Board of Directors and is chair of the Women's College Coalition Board of Directors. She serves on the Board of Advisors of the Global Village Project, a school for refugee girls in Decatur, and on the boards of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE); the Rotary Club of Atlanta; SunTrust Bank, Atlanta; the Billion Dollar Green Challenge Advisory Council; and the American Council on Education Commission on Internationalization and Global Engagement. She has previously served on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the International Center for Academic Integrity and Davidson College. 

A 2016 recipient of a POW! Award honoring purposeful women from Womenetics, Dr. Kiss received the Dress for Success Champion for Success award in 2015. She also received a Legacy Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta in September 2013, was inducted into the 2011 YWCA of Greater Atlanta Academy of Women Achievers and was named one of the 2009 Women of Excellence by Business to Business magazine. She received the Davidson College Distinguished Alumni Award for 2008 and was named as one of the Women of Distinction for 2006-2007 by the Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia.

Her husband, Jeff Holzgrefe, is an academic whose focus is international relations and ethics. He has taught at Agnes Scott College and Emory, Duke, Princeton and St. Andrew's universities and served as visiting scholar at Harvard and Melbourne universities. He co-edited Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal and Political Dilemmas (Cambridge University Press 2003). A native of Australia, Mr. Holzgrefe was educated at Monash University in Melbourne and Balliol College, Oxford.