A philosopher and ethicist whose career has combined teaching and scholarship with local and global engagement, Lynn Pasquerella’s first four years as Mount Holyoke’s president have been marked by a robust strategic planning process, outreach to local and regional communities as well as the world-wide network of Mount Holyoke alumnae, and a commitment to a vibrant campus community.
After graduating magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke in 1980, Pasquerella earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Brown University in 1985. She joined the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rhode Island, rising rapidly through the professorial and administrative ranks to the position of Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School. In her oversight of undergraduate programs in 9 colleges, plus 55 masters and 36 Ph.D. programs, she focused particularly on high academic standards, interdisciplinary as well as strongly discipline-based teaching and research, connections with the community, improved access to higher education, and the enduring power of liberal learning. In 2008 she was named Provost at the University of Hartford, where she provided academic, financial, and administrative leadership for seven schools and colleges serving 4700 undergraduate and 1600 graduate students. In 2010, her alma mater named her the eighteenth President of Mount Holyoke College.
Pasquerella has written extensively on medical ethics, theoretical and applied ethics, metaphysics, public policy, and the philosophy of law. A celebrated teacher, she has found time to co-teach a class in almost every semester of her presidency, with faculty in departments as disparate as Sociology, Biology, and Africana Studies. As President, she has focused especially on strategic planning, shared governance, long-term financial sustainability, access for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and increased visibility for Mount Holyoke across the nation and around the world. At the core of her career and her priorities is an abiding commitment to liberal education as a force for good, both for the individual and for civic society. Manifestations of that commitment include her work as senator and member of the executive committee of Phi Beta Kappa; her role as host of The Academic Minute, a WAMC Northeast Public Radio program featuring brief faculty presentations on subjects of both scholarly and general interest; and her public advocacy for cost and price containment in higher education backed up by two years of freezes in Mount Holyoke’s tuition rates.