Welcoming Our New President
June 1, 2020
Dear members of the Saint Mary’s community,
In seeking a new leader for Saint Mary’s, the presidential search committee focused on candidates with deep academic roots and an accord with the values of a Catholic institution. They sought a visionary with the capacity to lead Saint Mary’s through an anticipated period of growth and change.
The champion they sought was discovered in Dr. Katie Conboy. An academic thought-leader with a knack for meeting the needs of today’s student. A change agent with a combined 33 years at Holy Cross and all-women’s institutions. A lifelong learner who is personally familiar with our College. Today we welcome Dr. Conboy as our 14th president. She takes her place in Le Mans Hall among the great leaders who have come before her. Dr. Conboy has been labeled one of America’s most imaginative and energetic leaders in higher education by experts in the academic realm. Her unshakeable idealism and integrity have served her well over the years, particularly in times of institutional change. How seamlessly those qualities will blend with the values of Saint Mary’s.
On the day we announced Dr. Conboy as our next president, there was no way of knowing the daunting challenges our society would soon face. 2020 has been marked by tremendous injustices brought about by racial intolerance, culture wars, massive job loss and pandemic. In her remarks that February day, Dr. Conboy called upon us, in this era of increased social isolation, to share our Saint Mary’s spirit with the broader community. She challenged us to consider what kind of community we want to be, with and for each other. There was no way of knowing just how important these words would become.
In preparing for her role, Dr. Conboy spent these past three months working alongside Interim President Nancy Nekvasil to better understand the community and what lies ahead. Watching these two extraordinary women join forces, I am filled with gratitude for their intelligence, energy, and passion for Saint Mary’s.
The work will be challenging, but I am optimistic that Dr. Conboy’s arrival brings an opportunity for new beginnings and bold ideas. Her reputation as a courageous leader — an astute listener with the range of skills to address the needs of today’s students — will serve us well. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am honored to welcome Dr. Conboy and her husband Dr. Tom O’Grady to the community. I’m sure you’ll join me in helping them feel at home at Saint Mary’s College.
Gretchen Flicker ’93
Chair of the Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees