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Mary Marcy, Ph.D.

President, Dominican University of California

50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901; 415-457-4440; dominican.edu

Age: 51

Residence: San Rafael

Professional background: I have worked in both public and private institutions of higher education for more than 24 years. This includes president of Dominican University of California (2011- present) and provost of Bard College at Simon’s Rock and vice president at Bard College (2004–2011). I also have led a national grant-funded project on the future of higher education through Antioch University, worked as the first dean of university relations and planning at Antioch University Seattle and served as the lead researcher and policy advisor to the president of Western Washington University.

Education: Ph.M, Ph.D., politics, University of Oxford; B.A. with honors, University of Nebraska.

Staff: 546

Tell us about yourself and your organization: As a political scientist my research focuses on women in American politics. I have published extensively on issues of diversity, leadership, and strategy in higher education.

Dominican University of California is an independent university offering the best of the liberal arts combined with a rigorous professional education. The university’s mission is to educate and prepare students to be ethical leaders and socially responsible global citizens who incorporate the values of education, reflection, community and service into their lives.

The combined 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students intentionally reflect the diversity of California; 51 percent of undergraduates are from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 23 percent are first generation college-going.

With more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the arts, sciences, health sciences, business, and education, Dominican is one of a select group of private universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education and professional studies. It is this blend of liberal arts education with professional and preprofessional programs that distinguishes a Dominican education.

Words that best describe you: Motivated, approachable, tenacious, and surprisingly adept with a lariat.

What is a major accomplishment in the past year or so?: Announcing the largest ever gift in Dominican’s history. Dominican will gain $25 million in new revenue, initiated by $17.5 million in gifts led by Andrew Barowsky, chairman of our Board of Trustees. This will completely transform Dominican.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career?: My proudest personal accomplishment was earning a doctoral degree from Oxford. Professionally I am proud of my work focused on advancing a strategic vision that emphasizes Engaged Learning, a distinctive model of higher education focused on the integration of the best of the liberal arts with rigorous professional training.

What is your biggest challenge today?: Effectively leading change while holding to the values of our mission and history

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: The sophistication of academic technology is rapidly increasing at the same time that the basic cost and workload structure for higher education is undergoing enormous strain. We must move beyond the hype and backlash, and experiment with technology to reduce cost while improving access, learning, and faculty work, ensuring that the promise of higher education endures for a new generation of students.

As a successful female professional, what have been the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: Being one of only two women (in a class of 45) to obtain my Masters Degree in Politics from Oxford. Following that with a Doctoral Degree from Oxford.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Never assume professional success and personal happiness are mutually exclusive.

Current reading: Kahsuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant and Michael S. Roth’s Beyond the University.

Stress-relievers: Every morning I either hike or ride my bike on the trails above Dominican and meditate daily.

Favorite hobbies: Golf, hiking, reading, wine tasting (and collection when I can afford it!)