Mary K. Grant

Mary K. Grant, former president of MCLA, has been named president of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 

An educator who got her start as an undergrad at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, and later served as its president, has a new title.

Mary K. Grant is president of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Grant’s candidacy to lead MassArt was approved this week by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.

“I embrace this challenge and look forward to serving the community of MassArt students, alumni, faculty, staff and supporters at this important moment in the college’s history," Grant said in a statement that accompanied the announcement of the board’s vote.

The board voted unanimously to name Grant to the job, after a national search.

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Grant’s career, since she earned a B.A. in sociology at MCLA, has included two years of work as chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville and about the same tenure as head of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.

She’s been serving most recently as senior administrative fellow for civics and social justice at Bridgewater State University and leading the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice, according to the higher ed board.

Carlos E. Santiago, the state’s commissioner of higher education, said in a statement that Grant’s past work in the state university system “will be valuable as the state rebounds from the pandemic."

Grant served for 12 years as president of MCLA, from 2002 to 2014. While at the helm of MCLA, Grant is credited with rebranding the college as the top public liberal arts college in New England, according to the higher ed board. Her tenure saw the college build and renovate academic buildings.

Larry Parnass can be reached at and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and CommonWealth Magazine.