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You are here: Home / Academics / Barowsky School of Business / About the School / Our Stories / Dr. Lucy Inducted into Women's Hall of Fame

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Dr. Lucy Inducted into Women's Hall of Fame

Dr. Denise Lucy, founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Dominican University of California, was inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame on March 19, 2011. Denise is a Professor in the School of Business and Leadership and Emerita Vice President for Academic Affairs. She is an entrepreneur and an inspiration to her students and fellow faculty members.

Her philosophy is simple: Education is the great equalizer in society.


While she was growing up in Michigan, Denise Lucy was encouraged by her mother to pursue her dream of a college education.

Embracing her mother’s inspiring work ethic, Denise earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Michigan State University and decided to come to California “where the sun shined every day.”

She earned her master's in clinical psychology from California State University in Fresno.

Dr. Lucy spent the first 12 years of her professional career at the University of San Francisco where she held a variety of managerial roles assisting mid-career professionals who were earning their college degrees while working. Then her career took a sharp turn. She decided to get her doctorate in Organizations and Leadership from the University of San Francisco and, in the process, she discovered her calling: leading entrepreneurial ventures.

This discovery ultimately led Denise to an exciting career in education at Dominican's School of Business and Leadership.

Her first contribution to Dominican came in 1993 when she was appointed to be director of Dominican’s Pathways program and Associate Dean of the College. At that time, the fledgling adult bachelor's degree program had been in place for two years and had an enrollment of 92 students. Denise's expertise in designing innovative degree programs for adult learners — mostly women with children — led to the tremendous success of the program. By 1995, Pathways enrollment exceeded 390 students.

"One of the wisest hiring decisions I have made in my 23-year tenure as president of Dominican University of California was to appoint Dr. Denise Lucy s director of our Pathways program," stated Dr. Joseph Fink, President of Dominican from 1988 to 2011.

Dr. Lucy then became one of Dominican's first Deans when Dominican College formed schools: She was Dean for Liberal and Professional Studies. She served in that role for two years and then assumed the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs for a term of five years. Under her leadership, the campus expanded its faculty, programs and curricula, as well as its international and diversity initiatives. During her tenure, the University was ranked, for the first time, as one of thirty "Best Small Colleges in the West" according to the U.S. News & Report.

Now Founder and Executive Director of Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies and Professor in Dominican’s School of Business and Leadership, Denise is one of Marin’s progressive educators.

Her philosophy is simple: Education is the great equalizer in society.

As a Dominican University of California’s Professor, ILS Executive Director, member on numerous local boards (which have included Chair of Marin Education Fund), Denise has positively impacted the lives of those around her including Marin employers through various ILS business outreach programs, the general Marin community through her myriad efforts at partnership formation and bridge-building, and most important, her students through her teaching and mentoring.

"Dr. Lucy is the most effective and inspirational leader that I've encountered. She has a way of making you feel important, recognizing your strengths, and providing you with support and guidance. In the classroom, she engages students to think outside of the box through various leadership and team building exercises," said Nicholas Parrish, President of Associated Students at Dominican.

"Students truly love her class, and build relationships with her from day one. She is a pillar of Dominican, one many students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members can lean on, knowing they will be fully supported," Nicholas Parrish continued.

Dr. Lucy’s previous awards include Dominican’s Presidential Medallion and Sr. Aquinas Nimitz Distinguished Service Award, and the University of San Francisco’s Merit Award, and the Edward J. Griffin Award for Outstanding Service in Education. Dr. Lucy is a recipient of the Magnificent Woman of Marin Award 2007.

Denise’s tireless efforts have significantly raised the profile of Dominican in the community and changed the educational landscape for current and future generations, while promoting corporate social responsibility, social justice and educational equity.

Justifiably, her mother is very proud.


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