Janet L. Steinmayer named Lesley University’s seventh president
Leader with diverse background in higher education and business will build on university’s strong history
Following a nationwide search, Lesley University has selected Janet L. Steinmayer as the university’s seventh president. Steinmayer, currently president of Mitchell College in New London, Conn., begins her term at Lesley this July and will succeed interim president Richard S. Hansen.
“This is an exciting and critical time in Lesley University’s evolution, and Janet’s experience managing complex organizations and her proven success at Mitchell College are the perfect fit for this point in Lesley’s history and our ongoing strategic initiatives,” said Hans Strauch, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees. “Janet’s extensive knowledge of and devotion to Lesley, and her shared enthusiasm for our legacy of social-justice-oriented professional education, community partnerships and lifelong learning give us great confidence in her ability to lead this institution for years to come.”
Lesley has an endowment of $190 million and educates 6,400 students a year in fields that include education, the arts, counseling psychology and expressive therapies.
Steinmayer has a wealth of leadership and business experience serving in critical management roles, from general counsel to president and CEO. She served as CEO of Centerplate, Inc., one of the largest sports and convention center hospitality companies in America, as well as senior vice president of external affairs and general counsel for Trans World Airlines (TWA). Steinmayer received a bachelor of arts degree in English and History (magna cum laude and with honors) from Bryn Mawr College, and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University of Chicago.
At Mitchell, Steinmayer led a transformational period in which the college built a strong financial foundation, clarified its distinct mission and developed a campus master plan that illuminates the history of the campus and addresses the future. Under her leadership, Mitchell developed a unique, ability-driven educational experience designed to make higher education accessible to many who might not otherwise reach their potential through formal education. Steinmayer also fostered strong community partnerships to give students opportunities to learn skills and abilities relevant to today’s workplace.
Steinmayer has a longstanding commitment to and passion for Lesley that includes a decade of service on its Board of Trustees. Her son is an alumnus of Lesley’s Threshold Program, which gives her firsthand knowledge of the university from a parent’s perspective. Steinmayer’s higher education experience also includes 15 years on the board of Bryn Mawr College, her alma mater, where she currently serves as vice chair, and service on the Board of Visitors of the John F. Welch School of Business at Sacred Heart University.
“It is both a personal honor and a tremendous professional opportunity being selected to serve as Lesley University’s seventh president,” said Steinmayer. “Knowing Lesley’s history of educating and supporting creative and skilled leaders in education, human services and the arts, and embracing the changes and challenges in higher education, I clearly see Lesley’s path to being a driving force of change.”
“We were extremely pleased with the strength and diversity of the candidate pool and were thrilled to select an accomplished woman to lead the implementation of our Lesley 2030 vision,” said trustee and alumna Michelle O’Brien, who chaired the Presidential Search Committee. “As president, Janet joins the institution at a time of significant expansion, including the acquisition of additional buildings on the Brattle Campus and the completion of new state-of-the-art animation facilities last fall, and following the opening of a $47 million arts center in Porter Square several years earlier. We are well-positioned to continue to build on our legacy of providing outstanding progressive education.”
Steinmayer succeeds Dr. Hansen, interim president since Sept. 1, 2018, who previously served as interim provost for Lesley.
“Not only has Lesley completed incredibly important work to unite all four of its schools in Cambridge and acquire the real-estate that will allow for the planned increases in programs, services, and support for students in the years to come,” noted Hansen, “Lesley has also positioned itself for greater impact through its programs, including soon-to-launch bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work; evolving and expanding graduate-level programs; innovative partnerships for off-site bachelor’s degree-completion programs; and growing offerings for and orientation toward post-traditional learners. I’m proud of what Lesley has accomplished and where it’s headed, and am thrilled to welcome Janet to Lesley.”
While Steinmayer’s tenure as president officially begins in July, the university has planned an event for faculty, staff, students, and trustees on May 1 to welcome her to the community.
More about Lesley University
Lesley University empowers students to become dynamic, thoughtful leaders in education, mental health counseling and the arts. Located in the heart of Cambridge Massachusetts, Lesley combines an intensely creative environment with the practical experience students need to succeed in their careers. Each year, over 6,400 students pursue degrees on campus, regionally, online, and through our low-residency programs. Along with our 90,000 alumni, they are discovering the power of creativity to overcome obstacles, foster connections, and reveal fresh answers to the world’s problems.