Maria College Names New President
Dr. Lea A. Johnson has been selected as the third president of Maria College, effective July 1. Currently the Dean and Associate Professor at the School of Business Administration at American International College in Springfield, MA, she brings to Maria a 17-year career in leadership in higher education along with many years of varied business experience.
“The new president is a collegial, thoughtful and highly effective leader, whose background has been nationally recognized for program development in allied health and specialized nursing programs,” noted Sister Laureen Fitzgerald, RSM, President of Maria College. “She will bring dynamic leadership to the College with a plan for future growth to take it to the next level of excellence.”
Johnson holds an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania; an M.S.N. from MGH Institute for Health Professions; an M.S. from Boston University; an M.S. from Western Illinois University; and a B.S. from Lewis College. She was a board certified adult nurse practitioner who has been responsible, since 2005, for the development of more than 10 new academic programs in the areas of allied health and business. Her expertise includes financial management, fundraising, distance education and strategic planning.
Margie Byrd, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Maria College, said, “The opportunity for programmatic growth in our Nursing, Business and Liberal Arts degrees, with a greater emphasis on bachelor’s degree programs, will enhance our regionally recognized areas of academic excellence.”
Johnson succeeds Sister Laureen Fitzgerald, who has been president of Maria College since 1973. Under Fitzgerald’s leadership, the College has grown from 250 to more than 1,000 students, and she is credited with meeting the needs of the community workforce by expanding the College’s two-year degree and certificate programs, as well as by adding its first four-year degree program.
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