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  • The Mary Christie Institute Presidents’ Council is a group of higher education leaders distinguished by their dedication to college student emotional and behavioral health.  The Council, chaired by Dr. DeGioia, is made up of current and/or former heads of colleges and universities who share perspectives and offer input on the most pressing student affairs issues facing administrators today.

    John J. DeGioia, Ph.D.

    Chair

    President, Georgetown University

    For close to four decades, John J. DeGioia has helped to define and strengthen Georgetown University as a premier institution for education and research. A Georgetown alumnus, Dr. DeGioia served as a senior administrator and as a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy before becoming Georgetown’s 48th president in 2001.

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    As President, Dr. DeGioia is dedicated to deepening Georgetown’s tradition of academic excellence, its commitment to its Catholic and Jesuit identity, its engagement with the Washington, D.C. community, and its global mission. Under his leadership, Georgetown has become a leader in shaping the future landscape of higher education and has recently completed a $1.5 billion fund-raising campaign dedicated to enhancing the lifelong value of a Georgetown education.

    Dr. DeGioia is a leading voice in addressing broader issues in education. He previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education and is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education as well as Chair of the Board for the Consortium on Financing Higher Education. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Board of Directors for the Business-Higher Education Forum, the NCAA Board of Governors, the NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors and is Chair of the Division I NCAA Committee on Academics.

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    Pamela Eddinger, Ph.D.

    President, Bunker Hill Community College

    Pam Eddinger is president of Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), the largest of 15 community colleges in Massachusetts.  Dr. Eddinger began her tenure at BHCC in 2013 and previously served as president of Moorpark College in Southern California from 2008.

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    Dr. Eddinger’s service in the Community College movement spans more than 25 years, with senior posts in academics and student affairs, communications and policy, and executive leadership. Dr. Eddinger serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), GBH Boston, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Boston Foundation (TBF), the Massachusetts Workforce Development Board, the Boston Private Industry Council, Achieving the Dream (ATD), the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU). Dr. Eddinger was honored in 2016 by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College and her master’s and doctorate in Japanese Literature from Columbia University.

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    Marion Ross Fedrick, M.P.A

    President, Albany State University

    Marion Ross Fedrick was appointed as the 10th president of Albany State University on August 14, 2018, by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Fedrick previously served as interim president and interim executive vice president of the university. Spanning nearly thirty years of senior leadership experience, Fedrick has served in a variety of private and public sector roles. Her professional background includes system-level higher education administration, campus-level higher education administration, strategic planning, crisis management and strategic partnership engagement.

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    Committed to ensuring students realize their full potential, Fedrick believes every student deserves access to an excellent and affordable education. A two-time graduate of the University of Georgia, Fedrick holds a bachelor’s degree in adult education, with a concentration in organizational development, and a master’s degree in public administration.

    A hallmark of Fedrick’s presidency is her focus on providing the ideal student experience. One which focuses on preparing students for professional careers while ensuring the entirety of the student’s wellbeing is cared for. Since 2018 President Fedrick has used her commitment towards achieving excellence to drive new initiatives including a redesign of the institution’s academic colleges, approval of the University System of Georgia’s first nexus degrees, and the design and implementation of the university’s integrated student success model.  As a result of her laser focus on this ideal, the University has achieved a sixteen percent increase in retention, and a six percent increase in student enrollment. As a champion for student wellness, Fedrick has expanded access and opportunities for ASU students by entering into partnerships that increase the available campus-wide student resources.

    Due to her widely known commitment to addressing student wellness, Fedrick is highly sought after to contribute to statewide initiatives including the University System of Georgia’s (USG) Mental Health Task Force, and Georgia’s COVID-19 Health Equity Council.  Her leadership on the Health Equity Council has helped to increase the effectiveness of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s statewide outreach to communities most affected by COVID-19, and to ensure the equitable distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccination.

    In demonstration of her commitment to student success, racial and social equity, and the power of community, Fedrick has been a spokesperson for access, equity, and fairness. The intersection of her vision, passion, and broad leadership capabilities have placed Fedrick in key leadership roles throughout her career. Serving as the USG vice chancellor of human resources, Fedrick has led strategic initiatives relating to effective university administration, leadership development and all human resources planning efforts. She has also served at Clark Atlanta University, Emory University Hospitals, State of Georgia’s Office of State Personnel Administration, AT&T, and the former BellSouth Corporation.

    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Georgia, she and her husband, Horace, who is a 34-year law enforcement veteran, have one daughter, Sarah.

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    Marty Meehan, M.P.A., J.D.

    President, University of Massachusetts

    Marty Meehan is the 27th president and first undergraduate alumnus to lead the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.

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    A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, President Meehan was elected to the presidency after eight successful years as chancellor of his alma mater, UMass Lowell, leading the campus to top-tier national status and improving its performance in every sphere of activity, including enrollment, student success, fundraising, and auxiliary revenue generation. At his presidential inauguration on November 12, 2015, he pledged to fight for UMass, which he called “the most important institution in Massachusetts in the critical areas of social mobility and economic growth.”

    Under President Meehan’s leadership, UMass has achieved milestones in enrollment growth, research expansion, financial aid funding and statewide economic impact. In addition, the UMass School of Law earned full ABA accreditation and has seen the academic credentials of its incoming students and bar pass rates rise.

    During his 14 years in Congress, he served on the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees and established a national reputation for his legislative leadership. He won praise for his efforts to protect the public from the health risks of tobacco, and he was a central figure in campaign finance reform. In addition to his degree from UMass Lowell, Meehan earned a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University in 1981 and a juris doctor from Suffolk University Law School in 1986.

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    Lee Pelton

    Lee Pelton, Ph.D.

    President, Emerson College

    Lee Pelton is the 12th president of Emerson College in Boston. He is a nationally and internationally known speaker and writer on the value of a liberal education and the importance of leadership development, civic engagement, and diversity in higher education. He came to Emerson on July 1, 2011, after serving for 13 years as the president of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

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    He is the incoming CEO & President of The Boston Foundation (I June, 2021), one of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations with $1.6 billion dollar in assets. In 2020, The Boston Foundation awarded $215 million dollars in grants.

    He is a well-respected thought and innovation leader, recognized by Boston Magazine as 11th on 100 Most Influential Bostonians, Robert Coard Distinguished Leadership Medal 2021, Boston Chamber of Commerce as Distinguished Bostonian 2020, June 2020, Boston Racial Equity Fund (chair), Racial Justice Grant in Honor of Lee Pelton, $100,000 grant to be distributed to selected non-profits, EOS Foundation, 2020, The Governor’s Awards in the Humanities, 2020,  in Boston Business Journal, 50 Most Powerful Leaders in Boston, October, 2020 and 2018; Boston Magazine Power Issue, One of The 100 Most Influential People in Boston, April 2018, Boston Magazine’s May 2017 Power Issue: The 21 Most Powerful People in Boston Business and in its May 2014 Power Issue: The Power of Ideas: 75 Bold Thinkers Who Are Shaping Our City and the World. Other awards include Boston’s 100 Most Influential People of Color (Get Konnected!, 2016), the Rosoff Award 20/20 (The Ad Club, April 2016), the Diversity Leadership Award (The National Diversity Council, October 2015), the Sabra Award (Israeli Stage, November 2014), Boston 50 on Fire, recognizing 50 leading innovators in Boston (BostInno, November 2014), Speak the Truth Award (Student Immigrant Movement, December 2014), and the Champion of Freedom Award (Freedom House, March 2012).

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    Nicholas S. Zeppos, J.D.

    Chancellor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University

    Nicholas S. Zeppos is Chancellor Emeritus and University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University.  He served as Vanderbilt University’s eighth chancellor from 2008-19.  He joined the Vanderbilt law faculty in 1987 and prior to his service as Chancellor served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The university recognized Zeppos’ leadership and legacy by naming one of its newest residential colleges, the Nicholas S. Zeppos College, in his honor. He rejoined the faculty in 2020.

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    An esteemed legal scholar, teacher, and university leader, Zeppos teaches Civil Procedure and seminars on American politics and history.  He currently serves as a member of the board to Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital and was recently elected as a Corporation Member of Mass General Brigham Incorporated. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Effective Lawmaking and a Faculty Affiliate for the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.

    Under Zeppos’ leadership, Vanderbilt University has become one of America’s foremost research institutions. With a strong commitment to access, community, and inclusion, in 2008 Zeppos led the launch of Opportunity Vanderbilt, the university’s pioneering financial aid program, which replaced all undergraduate student loans with scholarships. Zeppos was also instrumental in planning and executing Vanderbilt’s residential college system, and its pioneering Martha R. Ingram Freshmen Commons.

    Zeppos also placed a constant focus on ensuring Vanderbilt is a welcoming and inclusive environment. He created the role of vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer and has been an outspoken advocate for the university’s imperative to foster opportunities, respect, and safety for all. In 2016 he ended a decades-long controversy by removing the name “Confederate Memorial Hall” from one of the university’s residence halls. He also led efforts to honor and tell the stories of university trailblazers, including Perry Wallace, who broke the color barrier in SEC basketball.

    Mental health and care and treatment for those with mental illness was a top priority during Zeppos’ time.  He helped lead a university-wide campaign to foster a culture of openness, honest reflection, and brave dialogue about mental health.  Zeppos’ “GO THERE” campaign to address mental wellness and early diagnosis and care for mental illness remains a pathbreaking initiative.  Substantial investments in basic and translational science to spark and develop new treatments for those who suffer from mental illness were part of the “bench to bedside” strategy Zeppos developed and implemented in this area long neglected stigmatized on and off university campuses.

    In 2016 Zeppos led the complex transition of the university and Vanderbilt University Medical Center into two separate legal and financial entities, a prescient restructuring that positioned both institutions for long-term success. In Zeppos’ time, the endowment increased from a low of $2.9 billion after the financial crisis of 2008, to $6.4 billion.  Almost half of the money in the endowment was added during Zeppos’ eleven-year tenure.

    Throughout his career, Zeppos has been an effective advocate for universities and the essential value and impact of academic research at the state and federal level and a vigorous and successful defender of critical funding for research and education. In 2015 he co-chaired the bipartisan U.S. Senate Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education and conducted the foremost national study on the high cost of regulatory burdens on America’s research universities.  He served as the chair of the Association of American Universities Board of Directors and served as a board member for the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, and as president of the Southeastern Conference.

    Strong support for free speech and civil dialogue with a diversity of opinions and perspectives also marked Zeppos’ tenure and his overall vision for campus culture. To promote inquiry and dialogue, he has hosted a range of globally renowned speakers from all sides of the political spectrum and a variety of disciplines, including President George W. Bush, President Joe Biden, former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams, authors Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, actor David Diggs, and leading cancer researcher and author Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, among many others.

    He has been recognized with multiple awards, including INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s Giving Back Award in 2016, the Tennessee Tribune’s “Person of the Year” in 2016, and the Jack C. Massey Leadership Award from Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee in 2011.

    Prior to serving as Chancellor and Provost, Zeppos had won numerous teaching awards.  Upon his return to the faculty in 2020 he won his sixth law school teaching award.

    He is the incoming CEO & President of The Boston Foundation (I June, 2021), one of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations with $1.6 billion dollar in assets. In 2020, The Boston Foundation awarded $215 million dollars in grants.

    He is a well-respected thought and innovation leader, recognized by Boston Magazine as 11th on 100 Most Influential Bostonians, Robert Coard Distinguished Leadership Medal 2021, Boston Chamber of Commerce as Distinguished Bostonian 2020, June 2020, Boston Racial Equity Fund (chair), Racial Justice Grant in Honor of Lee Pelton, $100,000 grant to be distributed to selected non-profits, EOS Foundation, 2020, The Governor’s Awards in the Humanities, 2020,  in Boston Business Journal, 50 Most Powerful Leaders in Boston, October, 2020 and 2018; Boston Magazine Power Issue, One of The 100 Most Influential People in Boston, April 2018, Boston Magazine’s May 2017 Power Issue: The 21 Most Powerful People in Boston Business and in its May 2014 Power Issue: The Power of Ideas: 75 Bold Thinkers Who Are Shaping Our City and the World. Other awards include Boston’s 100 Most Influential People of Color (Get Konnected!, 2016), the Rosoff Award 20/20 (The Ad Club, April 2016), the Diversity Leadership Award (The National Diversity Council, October 2015), the Sabra Award (Israeli Stage, November 2014), Boston 50 on Fire, recognizing 50 leading innovators in Boston (BostInno, November 2014), Speak the Truth Award (Student Immigrant Movement, December 2014), and the Champion of Freedom Award (Freedom House, March 2012).

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    Mary Christie Quarterly provides news, information and commentary on the policy issues that impact the health and wellness of young adults.

    The McFeed is a weekly roundup of news and research on the health and wellness of college students.