Lynn Pasquerella Named 14th President of Association of American Colleges and Universities

Bringing Expertise and Experience Spanning the Full Range of AAC&U's Diverse Members, Pasquerella Will Assume New Role July 1, 2016

Pasquerella

Washington, DC—January 4, 2016—The Board of Directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has chosen Dr. Lynn Pasquerella to become AAC&U’s 14th president. She will assume her new duties on July 1, 2016.

“Throughout the search process, Dr. Pasquerella impressed the committee with her clear commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence, which are the pillars of AAC&U’s mission; her ability to articulate those principles; and her understanding of higher education in today’s society,” according to Past Board Chair Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University and chair of the search committee.

Pasquerella began her own education as a student at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, Connecticut. A first-generation college student, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and her PhD in Philosophy from Brown University. Serving as president of Mount Holyoke since 2010, Pasquerella has led a robust strategic planning process and extensive outreach to local and regional communities as well as the worldwide network of Mount Holyoke alumnae. She has focused on access for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to a powerful, engaged and public-spirited liberal education.

Prior to assuming her current role, Pasquerella spent 23 years in public higher education at the University of Rhode Island where she served as a professor of philosophy and held a range of administrative positions including department chair and dean of the Graduate School. From 2008 to 2010, she served as provost at the University of Hartford. A philosopher and ethicist, Pasquerella has combined teaching and scholarship with local and global engagement. She has written extensively on medical ethics, theoretical and applied ethics, metaphysics, public policy, and the philosophy of law. 

A celebrated teacher, she has found time to co-teach a class in almost every semester of her presidency, along with faculty in departments as disparate as sociology, biology, and Africana studies. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated an abiding commitment to liberal education as a force for good, both for the individual and for civic society. 

Pasquerella serves as a senator and member of the executive committee of Phi Beta Kappa and as host of The Academic Minute, a WAMC Northeast Public Radio program featuring brief faculty presentations on subjects of both scholarly and general interest.

“AAC&U’s mission of making liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice is more critical than ever in a globally interdependent, rapidly changing world.  I am thrilled to be assuming the presidency of an organization that has been at the forefront of advocacy for liberal learning as a means of redressing economic segregation in higher education.” stated Pasquerella.  “I look forward to working with AAC&U’s extraordinary staff and the Board to ensure that this mission is enacted in meaningful ways on the campuses and in the communities of each of our member institutions.”

An active member of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) Presidents’ Trust, Pasquerella has worked with colleagues at Mount Holyoke to make the college’s celebrated LYNK initiative an exemplar of the LEAP vision of engaged, hands-on, and integrative liberal learning. This practical and powerful program for all Mount Holyoke students foregrounds clear connections between liberal learning and careers and provides every student with a paid, guided internship. Mount Holyoke students cap their LYNK learning by participating in the LEAP Symposium, a premier showcase of students’ summer experiences and work, organized by and for Mount Holyoke students who see a model of what they can aspire to accomplish themselves.

“Lynn Pasquerella has long been a friend and colleague to me and an admired AAC&U president and leader,” said current AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “I am completely delighted to welcome her as my successor.  Her extensive experience in both public and private higher education, together with her life’s journey from early studies in a community college to worldwide recognition as a public ethicist, show both the reach of AAC&U’s mission and the power of our educational vision. I look forward to working with her on a smooth transition and a great launch for AAC&U’s next era of creativity and educational leadership.”

Pasquerella is the author of numerous books and articles and has received many distinguished honors including the Horace Mann Distinguished Graduate Alumna Award from Brown University, the Superintendent’s Award for Distinguished Service to the South Hadley Schools, and the Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Rhode Island.

Ed Ray, chair of the Board of Directors and president of Oregon State University noted that: “The entire Board is indebted to President Ruscio and the members of the search committee for their success in meeting the extraordinary challenge of identifying a new president for AAC&U. Carol Schneider has provided exceptional administrative and intellectual leadership for the Association for the past 18 years and has set an agenda for US higher education to provide an inclusive liberal education for all students, ensuring that graduates achieve the learning critical to their careers and broader role in society. By virtue of her personal journey, scholarship, and leadership positions, Lynn Pasquerella has demonstrated she is prepared to continue and advance the outstanding leadership that AAC&U provides to higher education.”   

In addition to Ray and Ruscio, the search committee included AAC&U Board of Directors members James Collins, Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and Environment
Arizona State University; Sean Decatur, president, Kenyon College; Charlene Dukes, president, Prince George’s Community College; and Elsa Núñez, president, Eastern Connecticut State University. Bethany Zecher Sutton, chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Directors, served as staff liaison to the committee.