Alverno College president Mary Meehan, Ph.D., the first lay president in the institution’s history, has announced plans to step down in June 2016.
Meehan has been at the helm of the Milwaukee school since May 2004, when she became its seventh president.
“I am deeply grateful for the incredible dedication of each and every member of our Alverno board of trustees, faculty, staff and strong leadership team,” Meehan said in a statement. “Alverno’s successes have been the collaborative efforts of hundreds who every day show an unwavering commitment to our students and our mission.”
Meehan’s exit falls as her contract expires at the end of the 2015-16 school year and as Alverno stands poised for a leadership transition, according to school officials.
Alverno’s board of trustees will lead a national search for her successor and will summon the input of the campus community throughout the process, said Mary Beth Berkes, an Alverno alumna and chair of its board of trustees.
Among Meehan’s most recent and most significant accomplishments as president is the success of a $30 million capital campaign that is behind a dramatic campus improvement project.
The campaign caps Meehan’s history of driving progress across campus to meet both the evolving demands of higher education and the needs of students.
“Mary forged partnerships with the local community, raised Alverno to new levels of educational excellence and transformed the campus and culture to meet the changing needs of its students,” said Paul Purcell, chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. and a member of the executive committee of Alverno’s board of trustees. “What she and her team have been able to accomplish is nothing short of remarkable.”
Meehan also saw Alverno through a 2006 campus enhancement project that introduced new NCAA athletic fields, new landscaping and roadways, and an outdoor gathering space known as the Reiman Plaza. Additionally, she guided a housing renovation project that converted Clare Hall into a residence hall.
Academically, Meehan helped launch five graduate programs and add licensure tracks in the college’s education program. She also oversaw the development of the Alverno Advantage programs, which encompass accelerated bachelor’s completion programs for nontraditional adult students, and headed the creation of Alverno’s Research Center for Women and Girls. The center works to improve the lives of women and girls across the region and the country through a host of research, curriculum, evaluation and outreach resources.
During Meehan’s tenure, she also beefed up advising, mentoring and career planning services for students to ensure their workplace success.
Outside Alverno, Meehan has been part of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Women’s College Coalition, the Milwaukee Public Museum Recovery Task Force, the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Health Care Policy Task Force, and Well City Initiative, among other local and national groups.
“As an alumna of Alverno, I am especially proud of the bold accomplishments Mary has led, and we are very committed to ensuring a smooth transition,” Berkes said.