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Community is what makes Spalding great. Spalding educates students who want to serve their communities through their chosen profession. At our core, Spalding is a university whose mission is based on meeting the needs of the times. Our faculty and staff respond to the individual needs of our students. Along with undergraduate and graduate students, they collectively work to meet the communal needs of our neighborhood, city and region. This is our pledge: Every student will leave Spalding a stronger leader, a more involved citizen and an enlightened lifelong learner. Will you join us?

President McClure and student
President McClure's boat


Tori was the first American and woman of any nationality to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Aerial shot from south of campus


Tori skied 750 miles across Antarctica to the South Pole.

President McClure during Antarctic trek
President Tori Murden McClure
President McClure and female athletes from Afghanistan with the American Pearl
President McClure speaking from podium

Tori Murden McClure, M.Div., J.D., M.F.A. is an explorer, author and, since 2010, the President of Spalding University in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Throughout her career she has led with vision and empathy, including as a chaplain at Boston hospital, the director of a women’s shelter in Louisville, a policy assistant in the Louisville Mayor’s Office, and Director of Development of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville — their first full time employee.

As a lifelong adventurer and athlete, Tori has many groundbreaking accomplishments. She was the first woman and first American to row a boat solo across the Atlantic Ocean, having accomplished the feat in 1999 after 81 days at sea. A decade earlier, she became the first woman and first American to ski to the geographic South Pole during a 50-day, 750-mile expedition. She is a fully-certified emergency medical technician in both urban and wilderness areas and a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Tori holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College, a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, a law degree from the University of Louisville and a Master of Fine Arts in writing degree from Spalding. She is author of the memoir, A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean, which details her life and journey across the Atlantic. The book is the basis of a stage musical, Row, which made its world premiere at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in the summer of 2021.

She is a former Board Chair of the National Outdoor Leadership School, and she is a former Vice Chair and Interim Chair of the NCAA Board of Governors – the top governing body in collegiate athletics. Under her leadership, Spalding was certified as the World’s First Compassionate University.

She also has received several notable honors, including the 2022 Peter J. Gomes, STB ’68 Distinguished Alumni Honors from the Harvard Divinity School; one of Greater Louisville’s Most Admired CEOs (Louisville Business First, 2021), the 2000 National Academy of Sports Editors’ Victor Award, 1999 Kentucky Derby Festival’s Silver Horse Shoe Award; and most notably, the 1981 Spirit of the School Award from The Louisville Collegiate School (high school).

Tori Murden McClure has worked consistently to make education more accessible and to inspire individuals, particularly students at Spalding, to be problems solvers, willing to meet the challenges of our times through learning and understanding.

President McClure w/ Spalding banner in Antarctica
President McClure with American Pearl model

President McClure is sought after as a speaker and presenter on a variety of topics, including religion and theology, leadership, higher education, adventure and athleticism. Recent appearances include the Apostolic Congress on Mercy at the Vatican, Association of Governing Boards national conference, the U.S. Air Force Academy and her annual appearance at all sites of the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program.

For inquiries on speaking engagements or media interviews, email [email protected].