A new Vice
President and Dean arrive,
while a legend makes plans to depart.
The leadership of
the University continues to evolve under President William P. Leahy,
SJ, as a new vice president and dean were introduced this fall.
And with the announcement of their appointments came news that a
senior administrator who played a critical role in reviving Boston
College in the 1970s will be stepping down after this academic year.
October, Cheryl Presley joined the University as vice president
for student affairs, responsible for virtually all aspects of BC
students' environment outside the classroom. Presley was recently
associate vice president for student affairs and associate professor
in the education department at Colorado State University. A Colorado
native, she holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from
the University of Michigan.
As an administrator at CSU, Presley led the drive to resuscitate
the school's flagging career center, which had suffered during a
state budgetary cutback in the late 1980s. She also focused on raising
undergraduate retention rates. The result was the coordination of
services ranging from academic counseling to financial aid, and
a program of clustered courses for freshmen aimed at fostering academic
community. She received Colorado State's Distinguished Faculty/Staff
Award in both 1997 and 1998.
At BC, Presley inherits a staff of some 200 full- and part-time
employees (and 300 student workers) involved in services that include
housing, student development, AHANA student programs, health and
medical services, counseling, Learning Resources for Student Athletes,
the Career Center, First-Year Experience, Learning to Learn, and
the Robsham Theater Arts Center. She succeeds Kevin P. Duffy, who
retired after 24 years.
Presley has been struck by what she describes as BC undergraduates'
"pride in the full experience here--what they've learned, what they've
participated in, the University's focus on service, the study-abroad
programs, athletics." She would like to see that kind of attachment
grow among graduate students as well. "It's an issue at all universities,"
she says, "not just BC. Graduate students often get lost in student
affairs because they're not a captive audience." After her years
at a public university, Presley also looks forward to opportunities
for incorporating spirituality and religion into campus life. "I
understand and respect the barriers that exist at public institutions,"
she says, "but retention rates are higher when we attend to the
full needs of students."
she was 13 years old, Helen Frame Peters, the new dean of the Carroll
School of Management, spent a week living in a 9-by-12-foot fall-out
shelter with her parents and two sisters. Part of an experiment
conducted by the National Civil Defense, the experience, Peters
jokes, may account for her professional interest in "risk management."
It may also explain her willingness, over a 25-year career, to inhabit
a variety of business and academic environments.
Peters comes to BC from a career that has taken her from the Federal
Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (where, as an economist finishing up
her dissertation, she rose to become operating manager of the research
department) to, most recently, the position of director and chief
investment officer of Scudder Kemper Investment's Global Bond Group,
where she oversaw the management of $150 billion worth of bonds
and money-market instruments.
Peters left the Federal Reserve in 1980, and went on to manage Merrill
Lynch's debt strategy group. At the time, she says, "It was very
unique to see a Ph.D. on Wall Street. Then the industry changed."
In 1984, she launched Security Pacific Strategies, a research arm
of Security Pacific National Bank created to bring the commercial
institution into the investment field. Dubbed a think tank by the
business press, SPS offered high-tech financial analysis and new
financial products. Peters eventually moved "from the sell side
to the buy side," as she puts it, spending seven years at Colonial
Management Associates in Boston, where she was named chief investment
At a time when business schools are debating the merits of choosing
their leaders from academe versus the business world, Peters emerges
as a hybrid. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's arts
and sciences program (she majored in economics), Peters received
a master's in statistics from the Wharton School of Management.
In 1979, she also became the first woman at Wharton to earn a Ph.D.
in finance. She serves on the graduate board of overseers at Wharton
and on the Trustees' Council of Penn Women. At BC she succeeds John
J. Neuhauser, who has become academic vice president.
Peters is only the third woman to head a top-50 business school
(the others are Carolyn Woo at the University of Notre Dame and
Laura D'Andrea Tyson at the University of California at Berkeley).
Her biggest challenge, coming from business, Peter says, will be
to maintain connections to a more varied community of stakeholders--faculty,
administration, trustees, students. But, she says, "I've always
enjoyed working the links. More than being a specialist, I like
to make an environment for specialists."
are many in the University's administration, faculty, and staff,
as well as in the local media, who say there would be no Boston
College today were it not for the labors of Frank B. Campanella,
executive vice president for 24 of the past 27 years. At the annual
Convocation in September, President William P. Leahy, SJ, surprised
faculty and staff with the announcement that Campanella will leave
his post this spring and, following a year's sabbatical, return
to the Carroll School of Management to teach.
Campanella came to Boston College as a member of the faculty in
1970. An ex-marine with a background in the construction business
and a doctorate from Harvard University, he was in his third year
of teaching in BC's School of Business Administration, "very happily,"
he says, when then-President J. Donald Monan, SJ, asked him to take
on the job of managing the University's operating and financial
The institution's condition at that time was so endangered that
the University of Massachusetts was said to be eyeing the Chestnut
Hill campus for its own expansion. BC had been operating with what
Campanella calls "major" deficits for five years, and its liabilities
exceeded its assets. The University's endowment was an insignificant
$5 million, and faculty salaries were frozen at a level that took
BC out of competition for excellent teachers. To make matters worse,
research showed that the University's traditional regional pool
of applicants was shrinking at a higher rate than the pool of college
The course Campanella charted to revive BC has become a model for
other universities. First, he created operating surpluses by raising
both the enrollment and the tuition rate, all the while controlling
costs. He channeled these surpluses into the endowment, augmented
by gifts, which he protected rather than spent. With BC's debt capacity
thus enlarged, Campanella began borrowing to build dormitories and
expand academic facilities, with additions such as the O'Neill and
Law School libraries, and the Merkert and Higgins science centers,
to attract students from across the country and abroad.
As a result of Campanella's financial strategy, the University has
reported an operating surplus every year since 1973. Its net asset
value is now $1.34 billion, and its endowment has grown to $1.1
billion. Faculty salaries hover at about the 90th percentile among
comparable universities, while undergraduate applications have more
than doubled, making Boston College one of the top five universities
nationwide in total applications. There was no "eureka kind of experience,"
says Campanella, but "a constant, steady, and persistent movement
When Campanella's decision to step down was announced at Convocation,
the full assembly of faculty and staff rose and saluted him with
a standing ovation that went on for several minutes. Above the din,
a faculty member was heard to explain to a neighbor, "When I first
came here in the '70s, people would point him out to me. They'd
say, 'he saved us.'"