Lorch was born and raised on campus, graduated from Barnard summa cum laude and stayed for her PhD in Classics. She later taught Latin and Lit Hum. Her long career in education includes stints at Vassar, the New School, and the Lycée Français de New York; she was also the founding headmistress of La Scuola d’Italia New York.
She helped found the Scholars Program in 2000 and was also head of the Fellowships Office until 2005. During that period, she was often criticized for Columbia's 2002-2007 drought in prestigious fellowships. She was replaced in this capacity by Michael Pippenger, who took over Fellowships and began turning Columbia's prospects around.
She also owns a llama and alpaca farm in the Catskills.