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Massachusetts College of Art and Design Announces Dr. Mary K. Grant As New President

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Boston, May 4, 2021 –The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education voted today to approve Dr. Mary K. Grant as the 13th President of Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), following a national search and a unanimous vote of the MassArt Board of Trustees. Dr. Grant’s career in public higher education spans nearly 30 years, including significant leadership positions as President of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville. Dr. Grant is currently with Bridgewater State University, where she serves as Senior Administrative Fellow for Civics and Social Justice, leading the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice and serving as Co-Chair of the President’s Special Task Force on Racial Justice. She will officially begin her role at MassArt this summer.

“I’m delighted to congratulate President Grant and welcome her back to our public higher education system,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education. “Her past experience as a president in the state university system and in particular, her knowledge of the arts and cultural sector as an economic driver, will be valuable as the state rebounds from the pandemic.”

As President of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts from 2002 to 2014, Dr. Grant led the effort to rebrand MCLA as the premier public liberal arts college in New England, secured state and private funding to renovate and build new academic buildings, and led the first comprehensive capital campaign of the MCLA Foundation. While serving as Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville for three years, she led a period of strategic and institutional growth, including a new five-year strategic plan focused on equity and inclusion, academic rigor, student success, community engagement, and organizational capacity.

Dr. Grant joins MassArt as the College undertakes a number of initiatives to advance its MassArt At 150 Strategic Plan and works to further its mission of preparing artists, designers, and educators from diverse backgrounds to shape communities, economies, and cultures for the common good.

 “Dr. Grant’s depth of experience in public higher education and her belief in the importance of art and design education make her the ideal candidate to lead MassArt into its next phase of growth,” said Janice Saragoni, Chair of MassArt’s Board of Trustees. “We are eager to welcome her to MassArt, and look forward to an era of dynamic leadership.”

“It is an honor to be chosen as MassArt’s next President,” said Grant. “MassArt has a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and I am exhilarated by its potential to lead even more strategically and energetically in Boston, the Commonwealth, and beyond. 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.”

Earlier in her career, Grant served in leadership roles at University of Massachusetts Boston from 1992 to 2002, including as Chief Academic Officer and Deputy CEO of UMass Online, and Director of the Center for Social Policy with the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies.

Dr. Grant earned a Ph.D. from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, an M.S. in Public Affairs from University of Massachusetts Boston, a B.A. in Sociology from MCLA/North Adams State University, and holds an honorary doctorate from Williams College.


About MassArt

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is a public, independent institution that prepares artists, designers, and educators to shape communities, economies, and cultures for the common good. Since 1873, MassArt has built a legacy of leadership as the first freestanding public college of art and design in the country, and the nation’s first art school to grant a degree. MassArt offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, design, and art education, taught by world-class faculty.

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