Mary B. Marcy, PhD

President Mary B.Marcy headshot



Throughout her distinguished career in higher education, President Mary B. Marcy has developed major education reform and diversification initiatives, supported the advancement of faculty and students, introduced innovative programming, and enhanced the reputation and reach of the institutions she has served. 

President Marcy Joins Dominican

President Marcy began her tenure in 2011 as the ninth president of Dominican University of California. Guided by her leadership, Dominican has gained national attention for a transformation that is rooted in creative programs, innovative partnerships, and a commitment to supporting students through a comprehensive framework for student learning and success centered around high-impact practices. 

As an early initiative of her presidency, President Marcy began developing The Dominican Experience, a research-based and market-driven engaged learning framework for the success of every Dominican student. 

The Dominican Experience has led to dramatic increases in both graduation and retention rates at a time when the percentage of Dominican students identifying as ethnically diverse has increased by nearly 30 percent.  

Another key area of focus has been advancing partnerships that will develop new opportunities and programs while maintaining fidelity to mission and strategic vision. Dominican is leading a first-of-its kind incubation partnership with San Francisco-based coding academy Make School. This is a new national model for collaboration between nonprofit higher education and the private sector to position students for success in the 21st century.   

Recently, President Marcy was invited by the State of California’s Chief Service Officer to lead an effort to develop an innovative statewide program designed to help students pay for college through public service. The pilot AmeriCorps Service Fellowship is due to launch in fall 2020 with a coalition of public and independent universities led by Dominican. 

Presentations and Publications

President Marcy has presented and published extensively on the ways in which small private colleges are adapting to the new higher education landscape. She is regularly quoted in the media related to her research and initiatives, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times Higher Education, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Education. 

Honors and Memberships

In 2018, President Marcy was invited to serve as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. At Harvard, President Marcy shared Dominican’s transformation with both faculty and students, expanded her research on the future of small colleges, and further developed a book manuscript based on her 2017 Change magazine article. President Marcy’s book, The Small College Imperative, will be published by Stylus Publishing in 2020. 

President Marcy was an Arthur Vining Davis Fellow at the Aspen Ideas Festival. She is a member of the Council of Independent Colleges Board of Directors and Executive Committee and served on the Steering Committee of CIC’s Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education. She also is a member of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Club of California, and of the Presidents’ Trust of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  

Prior to Joining Dominican

President Marcy served as Provost of Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Vice President at Bard College from 2004 until 2011. Previous to her leadership at Bard, she worked in both public and private institutions of higher education. Her experience includes leading of a national grant-funded Project on the Future of Higher Education through Antioch University, working as the first Dean of University Relations and Planning at Antioch University Seattle, and serving as the lead researcher and policy advisor to the President of Western Washington University. Marcy was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to serve as a commissioner on the Commonwealth’s Public Education Nominating Council. 


  • University of Oxford, PhD, Political Science
  • University of Oxford, MS, Political Science
  • University of Nebraska, Bachelor of Arts (with honors)

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