Dr. Mary Marcy named President-Elect at Dominican

Dominican University of California has announced that Dr. Mary B. Marcy has been elected President of the University. Her appointment is effective July 1, 2011, when she will succeed Dr. Joseph R. Fink and become the ninth person to lead Dominican in its 121-year history.

Mary B. Marcy President-Elect Dr. Marcy was introduced on campus at Angelico Hall in front of an audience that included Dominican students, alumni, faculty and staff and San Rafael Mayor Al Boro.

“This is a place that believes in the value of education one student at a time,  as well as a broader philosophical commitment within the community,” Dr. Marcy said. “I am thrilled about that commitment and I’m eager to help lead.”

Dr. Marcy joins Dominican from Bard College, where she has served as Provost of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and Vice President since 2004.  As the chief operating officer of Simon’s Rock, she has been responsible for all aspects of the academic and financial health of the college, as well as the college’s relationship with its Board of Overseers.

 “Dominican University is at a pivotal point in its history,” said Andrew P. Barowsky, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.  “We have built a unique position as a comprehensive university with a grounding in the liberal arts and a strong array of professional programs.  In Dr. Marcy, we have identified a strong leader who can build on our strengths and take the university to a new level.”

 “I am honored to lead Dominican and become part of the rich legacy of the Dominican culture and community,” said Dr. Marcy.  “There are many factors that drew me to Dominican, in particular that it offers the personal engagement of a small institution while providing a rich array of options and opportunities inherent in a large university.  It is both global and local, having programs across the world while engaging actively with Marin County and the broader Bay Area.”

Dr. Marcy said her priority is to engage with all members of the University community in order to build Dominican’s legacy and further enhance its standing in the academic community.  “We will define future success as more than simply growth.  Success will mean holding steadfast to the values of study, reflection, community and service while tapping the creativity of our people to amplify our position as an educational environment of vision and excellence.”

During the interview process, Dr. Marcy said she met with Dominican alumni, including Mary Jane Burke,  Superintendent of the Schools in Marin County, “and she talked to me about her experience at Dominican and what’s changed and, equally important , what hasn’t changed and what shouldn’t change so that we make sure that the mission and the values of this institution remain true, even as we evolve with the times.”

According to Barowsky, the 12-person Presidential Search Committee selected Dr. Marcy in part because she has a proven track record in the areas of development that are critical to Dominican’s continued momentum and future success.  “Throughout her 18-year career in higher education leadership positions, Dr. Marcy has driven major education reform and diversification initiatives, created prestigious and rewarding university partnerships, developed significant fiscal and physical resources, supported the advancement of faculty and students, and enhanced the reputation and reach of the institutions she has served,” he said.

“We thank Dr. Fink for his dedicated leadership over the past 23 years,” Barowsky said.  “Under his leadership, Dominican University has been transformed from a small college of 650 students to a robust university of more than 2,200 students.  Our growth reflects our success under Dr. Fink in integrating vibrant academic programs in the arts and sciences and professional education.”

Like Dr. Fink, Dr. Marcy has a vision for Dominican’s role in higher education, particularly in California. “If you believe as I do that education can transform than you believe as I do that there are few places in the country that are more in need of investment and access to higher education than California is right now,” Dr.  Marcy said. “As California goes through budget crisis and changes, Dominican needs to stand at the forefront of higher education to talk about what is possible to invest in the future and to make a difference in the lives of students, faculty and staff today.”

Prior to her role at Bard College, Dr. Marcy worked in both public and private institutions of higher education.  Her experience includes leadership of a national grant-funded Project on the Future of Higher Education through Antioch University, work 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.

Dr. Marcy serves on the editorial board of Liberal Education, on the national higher education advisory board for the National Center on Education and the Economy, and was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to serve as a commissioner on the Commonwealth’s Public Education Nominating Council.

Dr. Marcy is a political scientist with a Doctorate of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy from the University of Oxford.  She conducts ongoing research on women in American politics, and has also published extensively on issues of diversity, leadership, and strategy in higher education.  She was born and raised in western Nebraska, and received her Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Nebraska.