2012 NAICU Paley Award:  Citation in Honor of President Patricia McGuire

2012 NAICU Paley Award: Citation in Honor of President Patricia McGuire

Trinity President Patricia McGuire received the distinguished 2012 Henry Paley Award on January 31 from NAICU – the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Here is the text of the citation.

Typically, NAICU does not given its Paley Award to a sitting president, with no retirement plans in sight. However, if we waited for that transition with Pat McGuire, there’s a chance that none of us here today would still be around to salute her accomplishments. She’s likely to outlast us all. Twenty-two years after assuming the presidency of her alma mater, she is still going strong -still transforming, still innovating, still storming the barricades of higher education.

Pat McGuire is an icon of higher education leadership, not because of her longevity, but because of the profound change her leadership brought to her institution, and because of her tireless, passionate and articulate voice for the value of America’s system of higher education. What was then Trinity College was under financial duress when she took the helm in 1989. She assumed the office as the college’s sixth president in eight years – a fact that caused her to once describe the opportunity as “a good job for a kid with a short attention span.”

A generation later, Trinity is booming. Enrollments have more than doubled, successful capital campaigns have been completed, award-winning buildings now enrich the campus, and academic programs have been expanded-including the only degree program in Washington’s poorest neighborhood.

Even more remarkable, though, has been Trinity’s ability to reach these goals while staying true to its mission. That mission remains aligned with that of its founding Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who describe themselves as “. . . women with hearts as wide as the world, . . . (as)each of us commits her one and only life to work with others to create justice and peace for all.” It is also a mission rooted in the historic tradition of women’s colleges to transform and empower women through education.

Pat has accomplished all this through an economic model that embraces serving disadvantaged students. Seventy percent of Trinity’s student body qualify for Pell Grants, a majority of students are the first in their family to attend college, and 90 percent are minority. Trinity serves more District of Columbia public school graduates than any other private institution in the nation.

Pat will tell you that, like all women’s colleges, Trinity has always been about serving the disenfranchised-because a century ago, all women were disenfranchised. And she will tell you it is why Catholic colleges like hers were founded. While she may be right on these points, it is also true that finding a way to make such a college model work has never been harder than in this age and time.

Pat’s commitment to higher education for all, however, goes far beyond the students she serves at Trinity. When NAICU needs a last-minute witness for some obscure congressional hearing, more often than not, the association turns to Pat.

She has testified before tax committees, banking committees, education committees, and funding committees. She has spoken at Capitol Hill rallies. She has served on Department of Education panels. She has defended student aid, once warning a banking committee, when the housing bubble first burst in 2008, that student loans could be at risk if the federal government didn’t act. And she has defended universities against taxation through her articulate defense of higher education and all non-profits — using her personal credibility as a president who makes a conscious decision to pay for her own off-campus home, car, and travel. She even writes her own testimony.

Pat authors not one, but two blogs, offering a unique perspective on a wide range of topics, and doesn’t hesitate to weigh in on controversial issues – from college rankings and K-12 school reform to multiculturalism and the responsibilities of public leadership. She writes provocative and insightful op-eds with candor and intellect.

Pat’s leadership has transformed her institution into a national model of private, non-profit higher education serving a public purpose. She values and exemplifies integrity and honesty; she is a compassionate leader who cares deeply about her students, faculty, and staff; she is generous with her time, serving as a valued member of many non-profit boards; she has a terrific sense of humor; she is a strategic and intellectual thinker and a visionary leader; she is a tireless and passionate advocate for those who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised; she believes in the transformative power of education and sees it as a path to empowerment, economic independence and a fulfilling life.

In deep appreciation for all she has done for the association, for the colleges and the students we serve, and for her continuing crusade in support of higher education, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities is pleased to honor the contributions of Patricia A. McGuire with its 2012 Henry Paley Memorial Award.

Named for Henry Paley, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York from 1975 until 1984, the award recognizes an individual who embodies his spirit of unfailing service toward the students and faculty of independent higher education.  The recipient of this award has set an example for all who would seek to advance educational opportunity in the United States.

Previous Award Winners, Henry Paley Memorial Award

1985:  Rev. Timothy S. Healy, Georgetown University
1986:  James Ream, Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities
1987:  Frank “Sandy” Tredinnick, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts
1988:  The Honorable William H. Natcher, U.S. House of Representatives
1989:  The Honorable Thomas H. Kean, Governor, New Jersey
1990:  The Honorable Silvio Conte, U.S. House of Representatives
1991:  Francis “Mike” Michelini, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania
1992:  Special Summit Meeting – no award was given
1993:  Derek Bok, Harvard University
1994:  Sr. Dorothy Ann Kelly, College of New Rochelle
1995:  Richard F. Rosser, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
1996:  John Frazer, Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities
1997:  James Whalen, Ithaca College
1998:  Rev. William J. Sullivan, Seattle University
1999:  David Irwin, Washington Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
2000:  Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich, Ohio Dominican College
2001:  Special NAICU 25th Anniversary Meeting recognizing all previous recipients – no new award was given
2002:  Allen P. Splete, Council of Independent Colleges
2003:  James C.  Ross, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York
2004:  Michael S.  McPherson, Spencer Foundation, Macalester College
2005:  Robert N.  Kelly, Kansas Independent College Association
2006:  Clare Cotton, The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts
2007:  Alexander W. (Sandy) Astin, Higher Education Research Institute, University of California
2008:  The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame
2009:  Morgan Odell, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
2010:  Sr. Kathleen Ross, S.N.J.M., Heritage University
2011:  The Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J., President, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities