MCLA President Mary Grant Appointed Chancellor-Elect At UNC Asheville


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has announced that President Mary K. Grant, Ph.D, its 11th president and the first alumna to serve in that capacity, has been appointed chancellor-elect at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Asheville.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Dr. Grant.  Under her leadership the College has flourished.  I am excited and happy about the many opportunities that the future holds for both the UNC Asheville and MCLA communities," Tyler Fairbank, chair of MCLA's Board of Trustees said.

Over the past twelve years MCLA has expanded academic programming, technology, and infrastructure; recruited outstanding faculty; provided students with enhanced study away, internship, research, and service opportunities; increased enrollment and diversity; deepened the connections between the College and the greater Berkshire community; oversaw the development and implementation of the College's strategic plan; launched the College's first comprehensive Capital Campaign; secured the largest gift in the history of the College; and led the campus to become a member of the Massachusetts State University System, among many other achievements. 

"President Grant is a true advocate for public higher education which drives her commitment to promote and ensure access to all individuals," Fairbank said.  "President Grant spearheaded a host of partnerships, including the Berkshire Compact for Education. Through her hard work and tireless dedication to the campus and community she loves, she will leave MCLA and Berkshire County a better place, and has impacted countless people for the better. We will deeply miss her, but wish her our very best," Fairbank said.

"MCLA is in an excellent position to manage this transition as President Grant completes her tenure this fall.  We have an outstanding, committed senior team, faculty, staff, and supportive community coupled with an experienced and engaged Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors," Fairbank said.  "We will use this time to thoughtfully develop a process, timeline, and plan for this transition.  As we look toward the future I am confident that with this strong team in place we will maintain momentum and continue on the trajectory of success and accomplishment that has become a trademark of MCLA." 

"My service as president of MCLA has been rich and rewarding and I am gratified that there are national ties through the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)," President Grant said. "The institution we are today represents our focused, intentional, and unwavering commitment to our students, this campus, and the community at large. At every step, progress has been made thanks to the dedication, investment, and support of faculty, staff, students, trustees, Foundation directors, members of the alumni board, alumni, friends and colleagues."

"I am proud of the College's 120-year history serving the region and the Commonwealth, and I remain excited about the many opportunities that the future holds for the MCLA community to deepen and expand innovation and creativity across the Berkshires," said Grant.

Williams College's President Adam F. Falk stated "Mary Grant is an inspiring and visionary leader who's shown, time and again, that she actually knows how to get big things done.  That's a potent combination, one that is all too unusual.  Her impact on MCLA has been transformative, and her commitment to the North Adams community has been unwavering."

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright added, "I would like to extend my most heartfelt and personal congratulations to Dr. Grant on her new appointment.  Her commitment to higher education at the local, state and federal levels has been wide reaching and highly effective.  Her hard work is evidenced each and every day at MCLA, and her overarching utilization of the campus as an economic engine for the Berkshires is the very visible proof of her hard work and dedication.   President Grant has been a force not only in growing MCLA, but also bolstering our local educational systems in so many ways.  I, along with this entire community, will miss her immensely and we all wish her well as she embarks on this exciting new chapter in her life."

During Dr. Grant's tenure MCLA has also provided leadership to advance the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) agenda in Berkshire County and statewide, spearheading efforts that led to MCLA successfully securing $54 million to fund the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, which opened in September 2013, and renovate Bowman Hall.  Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's Top-Ten Public Liberal Arts Colleges, MCLA has also been named to the President's Honor Roll for Service by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Dr. Grant is a passionate advocate for public higher education, civic engagement, and community service.  In 2014, she received the New England Board of Higher Education's (NEBHE) Massachusetts State Merit Award.  She is the recipient of the 2011 American Council on Education Massachusetts National Network of Women Leaders Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2011 Francis H. Hayden Award from the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Grant holds a Ph.D. in social policy from The Heller School at Brandeis University, a Master's degree in public affairs from the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMASS Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.  In 2012, Dr. Grant received an honorary degree from Williams College.