NORTH ADAMS -- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President Mary K. Grant is one of six finalists for chancellor at the Uni versity of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Grant said she didn't actively pursue the opportunity.
"I was nominated for this position by several different folks," Grant told the North Adams Transcript on Tuesday. "It's a wonderful opportunity and a good place to look at. It's also good for them to take a look at me. It doesn't mean I'm taking my eye off of the ball here. I have a great team, but when an op portunity like this comes along, it's one you consider. I'm honored to be in the mix."
That Grant is being considered for the position comes as no surprise to some of the members of MCLA's board of trustees.
Trustees Chairman Stephen Crowe said Grant's credentials make her a viable candidate for any leadership role.
"Mary has had such success at MCLA, I know in my heart of hearts we'd love her to stay here forever," said Crowe, the president and CEO of Moun tainOne Financial Part ners. "But in the life of a college president, 10 years is a little longer than the average [to stay]. There was always the risk that someone would notice her success here and try to lure her away, and now it's happened."
Each of the five University of Massachusetts campuses is led by a chancellor. Overall, the five-campus system is overseen by UMass President Robert L. Caret.
Grant became president of MCLA on Sept. 1, 2002, after being appointed by the state Board of Higher Education. She succeeded Thomas Aceto.
Grant is the first MCLA graduate to go on to serve as the college's president.
Crowe, who has served on the board of trustees as long as Grant has been president, said that during her time as president, Grant and the college have been able to increase enrollment, strengthen and expand academic offerings, increase fundraising and outreach efforts. Grant has also been integral in helping to develop the Berkshire Compact for Education and securing funds to build a new Center for Science and Innovation, which is currently under construction.
"It's been success after success after success," said Crowe. "But I know Mary well enough to say, despite her candidacy and nomination to this [UMass] position, she will not take her eye off the ball and what's going on at MCLA. She's the most dedicated college president you'll ever meet."
Crowe said he would speak briefly on the news at Thursday's regularly scheduled trustees' meeting, and that, if necessary, the board would be prepared to conduct a president search.
"But for now, we wait and see," he said.
Grant is currently a candidate to replace current UMass-Dartmouth Chancellor Jean MacCormack, who has led the campus since 1999. Back in September, MacCormack an nounced plans to retire at the end of this academic year.
Grant is not a stranger to the UMass system. After she earned her bachelor's degree from the former North Adams State College (now MCLA) in 1983, she earned advanced degrees from UMass-Boston and went on to become a professor and administrator there.
The UMass role would definitely be an expansion from the campus Grant currently serves.
According to fall 2011 statistics, MCLA had an enrollment of 1,680 undergraduate students and 210 graduate students.
UMass-Dartmouth had a combined enrollment of 9,432 undergraduate and graduate students in fall 2010.
According to state payroll records, MacCormack's previous year earnings were $292,100. Grant's previous year earnings were $200,024.
The names of finalists for the UMass-Dartmouth chancellorship have been forwarded to UMass President Caret. In the coming weeks, the finalists are each expected to spend a day on the Dartmouth campus meeting with faculty, students, staff, alumni, community leaders, and other groups.
Caret will then recommend a candidate to the UMass board of trustees, who will then have the final vote on Mac Cormack's successor.
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In the running ...
The six candidates for chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth:
- Jonathan C. Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University in Maryland
- Mary K. Grant, president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams
- Divina Grossman, vice president of engagement at Florida International University
- Daniel J. Julius, vice president for academic affairs for the University of Alaska system
- Maurice W. Scherrens, senior vice president at George Mason University in Virginia
- Jem Spectar, president of the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.