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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.

Photo of Cheryl PresleyIn 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."

Photo of Helen Frame PetersWhen 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 officer.

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."

Photo of Frank CampanellaThere 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 affairs.

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 applicants nationwide.

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 forward."

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.'"

Anna Marie Murphy

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