Mary Grant Named to Lead MassArt, as New England Higher Ed Sees a New Season of Presidential Turnover

By John O. Harney

Comings and Goings …

Mary K. Grant

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education named Mary K. Grant as the next president of Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). Grant’s three decades of public higher education leadership include serving as president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville. Most recently, as senior administrative fellow for civics and social justice at Bridgewater State University, she led the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice and co-chaired the President’s Special Task Force on Racial Justice. NEJHE has been pleased to feature her insights in our Q&A Young People Are Hungering for Conversation, Even on Difficult Matters and an earlier piece (when NEJHE was called Connection) titled “Museum Quality: A New Museum and Recharged College Bring Creative Energy to North Adams, Mass.” At MassArt, Grant succeeds David P. Nelson, who stepped down last April to become president of North Carolina’s Catawba College, and Provost Kymberly Pinder who took over as interim president.

Linda Thompson

The Westfield State University Board of Trustees selected higher education and public policy leader Linda Thompson to serve as the university’s president. Thompson has been dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts Boston since 2017 and has taught nursing and public health throughout her career at 10 different colleges and universities. She will succeed Interim President Roy H. Saigo, who has led Westfield State through the 2020-21 academic year.

The Middlesex Community College Board of Trustees in Massachusetts selected Provost and Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs Philip Sisson as its next president, succeeding James C. Mabry, who is retiring.

Benjamin Ola. Akande

Champlain College President Benjamin Ola. Akande announced he is stepping down after less than a year in charge to take a post at a financial services firm in St. Louis. Champlain’s Board of Trustees named Dave Finney, a former Champlain president, to serve as interim president, effective June 1.

Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) President Richard Hopper announced he will step down at end of May from the post he has held since 2013. Hopper has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Ukraine. KVCC Vice President of Student Affairs, Enrollment and Public Relations Karen Normandin will serve as interim president for the 2021-22 academic year.

The Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges named former Assistant Commissioner and Chief of Staff at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Nate Mackinnon as the association’s new executive director, succeeding Tom Sannicandro. Mackinnon recently served as the vice chancellor for community colleges at the Nevada System of Higher Education and worked as an adjunct faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College.

Nebraska State Colleges Trustees named Michael Evans, formerly vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Southern New Hampshire University and former provost of Unity College in Maine, as president of Peru State College.

Nationally, the U.S. Department of Education named former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray to be the next chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid.


One Response to “Mary Grant Named to Lead MassArt, as New England Higher Ed Sees a New Season of Presidential Turnover”

  1. Theodora J. Kalikow

    This is a note of congratulations for Mary Grant. Mary, I am happy to hear of your latest appointment in MA higher education. Way to go! All best wishes — Theo Kalikow


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