MCLA president is honored

Friday June 17, 2011

NORTH ADAMS -- The American Council on Education has presented Mary K. Grant with its Massachusetts National Network of Women’s Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing the college president’s leadership and promotion of women in the field of higher education.

"President Grant received unanimous support from our nominating committee," said Denise Hammon, the state chairwoman of ACE. "Over her lifetime of working in higher education, Mary has been an exemplary role model and advocate for women in all stages of their career in higher education. She’s a tireless and dedicated person who gives so much of herself. She has all the attributes of a great leader."

Grant is Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ 11th president and the first alumna to hold the position.

Recipients of the award are nominated by a member of the state networking group and the selected individual is chosen based on their exemplification of the principles of ACE National Network: the identification, development, encouragement, advancement, linkage and support of women in higher education.

"It was a very nice honor to be recognized by my peers and the women’s leadership group," Grant said on Thursday. "It was very rewarding to receive this unexpected recognition from a group I admire and really respect. When I receive recognition like this, it’s really a recognition of what has been accomplished as a community. I don’t make any pretense about the fact that I have a great team of administrators and staff who support my work, day in and day out."

Throughout her 20-year affiliation with the organization, Grant said she has always valued its ability to provide networking opportunities and professional development for women working in higher education.

"It’s a very strong chapter," Grant said. "Through its network, it helps bring an awareness to women about opportunities at other institutions. It’s membership also offers each other support, helping women leaders to take the next step -- encouraging one another to take a risk that could be the best growth opportunity for them."

Over the years, she said she’s had the opportunity to work with women leaders of other institutions and spend time with women coming up the ranks in higher education, offering support and guidance.

"It’s important for young women to understand that there isn’t one straight path to becoming a president, dean or provost," Grant said. "It’s about finding something your good at, something your passionate about, and working from there. The network also is a good resource for problem solving. It allows you to connect with other women in the field and find out how they’ve handled similar situations."

Grant earned a doctorate in social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, a master’s degree in public affairs from the John W. McCormack Institute at the University of Massachusetts, and a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from MCLA.


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