Local Colleges Buck Trend in Presidents

December 14, 2012

The Boston Courant

COFThe typical profile of a college president in the United States may be an older white man, but that is not the case in the Fenway.

According to a 2012 report from the American Council on Education (ACE), the standard model for the country's college president is a 61-year-old married white male. Only 13 percent are racial and ethnic minorities, and only 26 percent are female.

However, the Fenway is bucking this trend, as five out of the six schools that belong to the group Colleges of the Fenway (COF) have female presidents. Kim Bobby, Director of the Inclusive Excellence Group at ACE, could not offer a definitive reason for why this was the case, but she said she was pleased with the development. "I think that's wonderful," she said.

Claire Ramsbottom, executive director of COF, said she thought the progressive nature of Massachusetts helped explain the neighborhood's high number of female presidents. "You have a climate here that's more encouraging of women's leadership, and I think that speaks to why we may be in a different situation than the rest of the country," she said.

 Dawn Barrett, president of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, said this type of thinking was particularly applicable to schools in the Fenway. She described them as "progressive institutions that have looked for the best opportunities for leadership and have found them in women."

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