President Mary J. Meehan announces plans to step down as president of Alverno College
March 16, 2015
President Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., who has led Alverno College through more than a decade of remarkable growth and progress, will step down in June 2016. Meehan began her tenure as the seventh president and first lay president of the College in May 2004, and is one of the longest tenured college presidents in the state.
“I am deeply grateful for the incredible dedication of each and every member of our Alverno Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and strong leadership team,” said Meehan. “Alverno's successes have been the collaborative efforts of hundreds who every day show an unwavering commitment to our students and our mission.”
Speaking on behalf of the School Sisters of St. Francis, the community that sponsors Alverno, Sister Carol Rigali said, “Dr. Meehan has led Alverno with a Franciscan spirit of personalized learning, generosity, service to the greater good and joy in that service. Her deep understanding of higher education locally and nationally has put the College on solid footing to ensure a strong future dedicated to advancing women.” Sister Carol Rigali currently serves as a member of the U.S. Provincial Leadership Team.
The timing is right for a leadership transition. Meehan just successfully completed a $30 million capital campaign, the most significant milestone of her career, and her contract is up at the end of the 2015/2016 academic year. The Alverno College Board of Trustees will be embarking upon a nationwide search for a new president. “The board is looking forward to the input of the campus community in this important work,” said Mary Beth Berkes '75, Chair of the Alverno Board of Trustees. “As an alumna of Alverno, I am especially proud of the bold accomplishments Mary has led, and we are very committed to ensuring a smooth transition.”
Meehan's Legacy of Leadership
Paul Purcell, CEO of Robert W. Baird and member of the Executive Committee of Alverno's Board of Trustees, credits Meehan for her leadership during a time of great change in higher education. “Mary forged partnerships with the local community, raised Alverno to new levels of educational excellence and transformed the campus and culture to meet the changing needs of its students” said Purcell. “What she and her team have been able to accomplish is nothing short of remarkable.” Meehan's tenure is marked with bold achievements in expanded academic offerings, increased student services and dramatic changes to Alverno's campus.
An Enhanced Campus Community
In 2006, a substantial campus beautification and enhancement project added new NCAA athletic fields, lush exterior landscaping, new roadways and the addition of the beautiful Reiman Plaza to create a more reflective and inspiring setting for teaching and learning.
In response to the need for expanded on-campus living, Clare Hall was renovated in 2008 into a residence hall thanks to record donations from alumnae.
Earlier this year, Alverno announced that it had surpassed its $30 million capital campaign goal in December, raising a total of $32,793,000. The expansion and renovation, which broke ground in March of 2014, is the most significant enhancement in the college's 128-year history.Improvements include a new classroom building, a state-of-the-art nursing simulation center for the JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing and the creation of a new, larger student commons to enhance the student experience.
Expanded Academic Offerings
Alverno's graduate programs have seen dramatic growth from just one master's program in Education to now include: an MBA, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Master of Science in Community Psychology (MSCP), an MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner track and an MSN-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track, and expanded licensure tracks in the Education program, including Special Education and a Licensure to Master's program. Graduate student enrollment is nearing 700 students.
In 2013, Alverno launched the innovative Alverno Advantage programs to meet the needs of returning adult students. These accelerated bachelor's completion programs combine in-classroom and online learning, while still ensuring students master the rigorous requirements of Alverno's ability based curriculum.
In 2009, Meehan led the launch of Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls, the only center of its kind in the Midwest. The Center's “Status of Girls in Wisconsin” report has since inspired similar reports in several states.
Increased Student Services
Co-curricular activities have expanded to more than 70 student organizations.
Alverno's NCAA III athletics program has dramatically grown to include seven sports and 80 student athletes recruited from throughout the Midwest.
A campus-wide Student Success initiative provides increased advising, mentoring and career planning services to ensure Alverno students are well-prepared to be leaders in their workplaces, communities and homes.
A Positive Impact on the Greater Community
In addition to her leadership at Alverno, Meehan has served higher education locally and nationally on the boards of Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (Chair), Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the Women's College Coalition, the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, Georgian Court University, Loras College, and as a member of the NCAA Division III Chancellors/Presidents Council.
Locally, Meehan has been a leader in the Greater Milwaukee community through directing important initiatives such as the Milwaukee Public Museum Recovery Task Force (Chair) and the Greater Milwaukee Committee's Health Care Policy Task Force (Co-Chair) and Well City Initiative (Co-Chair). She has also served the boards of: Sacred Heart School of Theology (Chair), Aurora Visiting Nurses Association (Chair), Froedert Health, Grand Avenue Club and Milwaukee Achiever Literacy Service.
She has received numerous awards and recognition both nationally and locally including Seton Hall University's Woman of the Year, Professional Dimensions Sacagawea Award and the Business Journal's Women of Influence. In addition, she was recently awarded the Tempo Mentorship Award.
Published on March 16, 2015 | Categories: Newsroom press release