Our view: The women in the presidents’ offices

The Salem News
November 6, 2019

Nancy Harrington was more than the longtime president of Salem State University, she was a trusted, well respected leader on the North Shore. So too her successor, Patricia Maguire Meservey, who led the college through growth — of both of its campus and endowment — in the decade she spent there. Both were exceptional leaders. And both, as it turns out, were exceptions.

Added to the list of things that probably didn’t need a report to confirm, women occupy a little more than one third of the president’s offices of the 92 public and private colleges in Massachusetts, according to a report out this week by the Eon Foundation’s Women’s Power Gap Initiative. Specifically, it’s 37%.

The slow evolution of leadership in higher ed is especially striking since the majority of students enrolled at those colleges are women. And that’s not a new development. At Salem State, enrollment is 64% female, according to the report. At the University of Massachusetts’ flagship campus, it’s exactly 50%.

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