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Presidential Announcement


Dr. Susan R. Burns Elected Sixth President of College of Mount Saint Vincent

Susan Burns

Dear Members of the Mount Saint Vincent Community:

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees enthusiastically appointed Dr. Susan R. Burns as the sixth president of the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Her term will begin January 1, 2021.

This is certainly an exciting time in Mount Saint Vincent’s history, and we are confident that the presidential search process allowed us to choose the best leader for the College and our future.

Dedicated to the common good, Vincentian service, and the Catholic intellectual tradition, Dr. Burns is a skilled academic leader, engaged educator, and celebrated scholar. Her career in higher education has focused on advancing institutional mission, while creating an environment that fosters the education of the whole person. She has proven to possess the knowledge and strategic vision necessary to advance and build upon the College’s distinguished accomplishments and reputation.

An extraordinarily effective and collaborative leader, Dr. Burns has worked to shape key initiatives during her highly successful tenure at Clarke University, an academically strong, private institution in Dubuque, Iowa. A widely published scholar, she has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Clarke since June 2014. Prior to this position, Dr. Burns served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Morningside College. At Morningside, she also taught psychology and statistics, holding the rank of full professor with tenure.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in experimental psychology from Emporia State University and her Ph.D. in social/personality psychology with an emphasis in child development from Kansas State University.

Dr. Burns embodies academic excellence and leadership, as well as a deep-seated commitment to the liberal arts and educational access. Colleagues laud her energy, compassion, and integrity—and her dedication to serving students and preparing them for professional competence, lifelong learning, and civic responsibility. She has a reputation as a skilled administrator, gifted teacher, and admired community leader. We are pleased to have selected Dr. Burns to lead the College of Mount Saint Vincent as we continue to expand access to authentic, high-quality educational opportunity for talented students of every economic and social background.

I would also like to take a moment to thank everyone who participated in the search process—the impact of your efforts simply cannot be overstated.

The search committee considered many thoughtful emails, survey responses, letters, and comments from the College community, which formed the basis for the profile of the leader they sought to recruit. This talented group of individuals—trustees, most of whom are alums, as well as faculty and student representatives who were assisted by the search firm RH Perry & Associates—worked remarkably hard to keep the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s mission and interests front and center. They, and I, could not be more pleased with the result.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge Charles L. Flynn, Jr., whose leadership over the past two decades has brought the College of Mount Saint Vincent to a position of academic and financial strength. His vision and faithful leadership are best illustrated by the College’s mission-centered growth.

Mount Saint Vincent continues to be deeply committed to the liberal arts and to its core values: an understanding of our common humanity, a commitment to human dignity, and a full appreciation of our obligations to each other. We are fortunate and honored to have someone of Susan Burns’ intellect, passion, and experience to carry on this work as we write the next chapter for this exceptional institution.

Steven M. Hayes, Chair of the Board of Trustees

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.