The chair of Salem State University’s Board of Trustees, Paul Mattera, announced that President Patricia Maguire Meservey plans to retire from her role as the university’s president, with a transition anticipated to take place this summer. President Meservey is Salem State’s 13th president and has led the institution through a successful period of growth over the past decade.
“During President Meservey’s tenure, Salem State has grown and distinguished itself in important ways, including growth in the physical campus, curriculum, student life, student achievement, and the university’s endowment,” said Mattera. “Perhaps most importantly, Pat brought a spirit and energy to Salem State that has enlivened campus life and helped to drive student achievement. She leaves the university with a legacy of accomplishment and with momentum for the successes that lie ahead for this great North Shore institution.”
“Leading Salem State has been the greatest privilege of my career,” said President Meservey. “From Salem State’s faculty, staff, students and alumni to the exceptional leaders in the city of Salem, on the North Shore and throughout the Commonwealth, I have been humbled to work with some of the most talented and committed individuals I have ever known. I’m forever grateful to those who have made leading Salem State more rewarding than one could imagine, and I could not be more proud of all that we’ve accomplished together.”
Working hand-in-hand with the extended Salem State community, President Meservey led the university through numerous accomplishments, some of which include:
University Status – In 2010, Salem State College became Salem State University. President Meservey was a leading champion for this legislated change in status which reflects the large, comprehensive institution the university has become. University status brings greater recognition to the high quality of Salem State’s academic programs and the many accomplishments of its faculty and students. With the university designation, Salem State expanded academic programming grounded in the expertise of its faculty and designed to address the changing needs of its community and workforce. Among many highlights, Salem State’s School of Social Work was ranked #91 (of over 250 programs) by US News & World Report.
Increased Graduation Rates – Student success is Salem State’s key goal. From 2007 to 2016, the graduation rate for baccalaureate students increased 15 percentage points – the largest change in the state university system. Salem State’s six-year graduation rate for first-year freshmen has increased from 37 percent in 2007 to 52 percent in 2015, with a graduation rate for transfer students at 67 percent. This growth reflects the exceptional efforts of faculty and staff to support students, and the university continues to set aggressive goals in the area of student success.
New State-of-the-Art Academic and Student Life Spaces – Changes to the physical campus over the past decade are profound. Nearly 760,000 square feet of new construction and renovations have been completed or are underway, bringing state-of-the-art academic and student life spaces to campus. Through the support of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and generous donors, combined with resources of the university’s operating budget, over $250 million has been invested in campus improvements. Highlights of these changes include the Frederick E. Berry Library & Learning Commons, the Sophia Gordon Center for Creative & Performing Arts, the Harold E. & Marilyn J. Gassett Fitness Center, athletic fields and courts, and two residence halls that provide accommodations for nearly 900 students. Efforts are currently underway to secure the Commonwealth’s support for a new science facility to support the growing demand for science, health care, and technology programming.
A Successful Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign Raising Over $26 Million – In December of 2016, Salem State announced the successful completion of the university’s first comprehensive campaign. Exceeding its goal, over $26 million was raised during the campaign from over 11,000 donors, with a remarkable 93 percent participation rate among faculty and staff. The funds resulted in the establishment of 48 new scholarships for students and much needed financial support for academic programs.
While Salem State’s presidential transition is anticipated to take place over the summer of 2017, President Meservey is committed to remaining in her role as president until her successor arrives on campus.
The search for Salem State University’s 14th President will be overseen by the university’s Board of Trustees and will begin immediately, starting with the appointment of a search committee representing important university constituencies and the selection of a search firm to assist in identifying candidates of the highest quality. The selection of the search committee and search firm are expected to be completed by the end of January.
“Pat will play a key role in guiding the university through this period of transition. I know I speak for the entire Board in expressing our deep appreciation for Pat’s exemplary leadership and wishing her Godspeed,” said Mattera.