Mitchell College president resigning to take post at Lesley University

New London — Janet Steinmayer, president of Mitchell College, will step down in June to become president of Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

In a message posted Tuesday on the college’s website, Steinmayer, who became Mitchell’s seventh president in 2014, wrote “to share a difficult personal decision that I have been grappling with for some time.”

A trustee of Lesley for more than a decade, Steinmayer, in the message, said she has “deep personal connections to the institution.” She said her son graduated from Lesley’s Threshold Program, “which is a major factor as this new role will allow me to be closer to him. So this was in many respects a personal decision to embark on an opportunity that was presented to me and, while difficult, is the right path forward for me.”

Steinmayer said she took comfort in knowing that she was leaving Mitchell “at a time of strength.” She cited the 700-student college’s “clearly differentiated curriculum tailored to our students' strengths, interests and learning process" and its development of "strong partnerships within our community" that enable students "to learn skills and abilities relevant to today's workplace."

“We have built a strong financial foundation and made progress on a comprehensive Campus Master Plan," she said. "You have only to be at an Open House in the Red Barn, or sit in an Adirondack chair to feel how embracing the campus has become.”

Kevin Hennessy, chairman of Mitchell’s board of trustees, issued a statement on behalf of the board, thanking Steinmayer for “her exemplary performance.”

“President Steinmayer’s collaborative leadership style helped lead Mitchell College through a transformative time,” he said. “Mitchell College is stronger than ever and will thrive in the future due to the passion and dedication of each person associated with the school. We wish Janet continued success at Lesley University as she moves to Boston to be closer to her family.”

The board will meet early next month regarding a search for a new president. Steinmayer will step down June 30, and become president of Lesley in early July, according to a Mitchell spokeswoman.

At Lesley, which serves about 2,500 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students, she will replace Richard Hansen, who became interim president a year ago following the resignation of Jeff Weiss. A job posting last fall indicated Lesley was seeking a president "with experience leading complex organizations successfully through growth or change."

"The ideal candidate will bring an understanding of academic administration and finances, an entrepreneurial spirit, cultural competence, and a demonstrated passion for Lesley's mission," the posting said.

Steinmayer is a member of the board of trustees of Bryn Mawr College, her alma mater. At Mitchell, she replaced Mary Ellen Jukoski, now the president at Three Rivers Community College.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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