Mary B. Marcy, DPhil

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 Civic Action Fellowship is due to launch in fall 2020 with a coalition of public and independent universities led by Dominican. 

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, was released by Stylus Publishing in February, 2020. 

Presentations and Publications

President Marcy has presented and published extensively on the issues facing small colleges. 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

Leadership and Associations

President Marcy serves on the Commonwealth Club of California Board of Governors, Educational Advisory Board of InsideTrack, Presidents’ Trust of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Panetta Institute Academic Advisory Council. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an Arthur Vining Davis Fellow at the Aspen Ideas Festival. She previously served on the Council of Independent Colleges Steering Committee on the Future of Independent Higher Education and CIC’s New President’s Advisory Board.

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, including a grant-funded Project on the Future of Higher Education.


  • University of Oxford, DPhil, Political Science
  • University of Oxford, MPhil, Political Science
  • University of Nebraska, Bachelor of Arts (with honors)

Speaking Engagements

To request speaking engagements with President Marcy, contact

Contact Information