Past president gallery


Photo of President GrantPresident Mary K. Grant
2002 to 2014

President Mary K. Grant, the 11th president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, was the first alumna to serve as its president.

Under Grant's leadership, MCLA is nationally recognized as a leader in public higher education. MCLA expanded academic programs and facilities, recruited an array of faculty, increased study away, internship, and research opportunities, created a dynamic arts presence on Main Street, and launched the College's first capital campaign, exceeding its goal in reaching $30 million, just to name a few initiatives.

Additionally, President Grant, advanced the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) agenda in Berkshire County and statewide, spearheading efforts leading to MCLA successfully securing $54 million to fund the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, and toward the renovation of Bowman Hall.

President Grant also established a regional strategy, The Berkshire Compact, to improve access and raise educational aspirations for the region.

President Grant now serves as President of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, MA.


Photo of President Thomas AcetoPresident Thomas D. Aceto

During his tenure, President Aceto expanded the College in many ways. Among the many initiatives, the College developed and implemented a strategic plan, initiated and revamped academic programs, created a multimedia laboratory and classroom, and introduced the First Year Seminar program.

Under his administration, Governor Paul Celluci signed legislation renaming the College from North Adams State College to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The name change was intended to create the state's third special purpose college, offering residents and others a high-quality public alternative to private liberal arts colleges.


Photo of President TisingerPresident Catherine A. Tisinger, 1984-1991

President Tisinger holds the distinction of being the first woman to serve as president of a four-year public college in Massachusetts.

Under her administration, North Adams State College formed a consortium with Williams College for the purpose of mutually beneficially collaborations. President Tisinger also established a degree of cooperation between the College, Berkshire Community College, and Greenfield Community College.

Among her honors, President Tisinger was recognized by the College of Wooster Alumni Association as a respected leader in American Education - the highest honor bestowed upon a Wooster alumna by fellow alumni.


Photo of President HaasPresident William P. Haas

During President Haas' administration, North Adams State College received full re-accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). He established the Cultural Affairs Council.

President Haas was well regarded as an active and engaged member of the community and champion for public higher education in the Commonwealth. He was often quoted as being strongly in favor of strengthening the admissions standards for the Massachusetts State Colleges and Universities.



Photo of President AmslerPresident James T. Amsler

During President Amsler's nearly ten years at North Adams State College, the student body increased from 700 to 2200, the faculty expanded from 41 to 117 and the number of administrators grew from 5 to 42.

The physical plant was enlarged with the addition of the Campus Center, Berkshire Towers, the Townhouses, and the Center for Resourceful Living and outdoor complex. Renovations were also done at Smith House, Murdock Hall, Mark Hopkins, and Venable Theatre.

Under President Amsler, new degree programs in Business Administration and Medical Technology were added, and the North Adams State College Foundation was formed as an instrument of development in the private sector.

Photo of President FlaggPresident Andrew S. Flagg

Prior to his role as president at North Adams State College, President Flagg first served as an Associate Professor of Art, and also held the positions of Dean of Admissions and Dean of Men.

As interim president, he initiated changes in curriculum, leading the institution towards a liberal arts college in accordance with the policies of the State College Board of Trustees.

During the first year and a half of President Flagg's interim and permanent presidency, Hoosac Hall dormitory was completed; under construction were the power plant and the Bowman-Eldridge Freel complex. The Mark Hopkins Training School was acquired by the state from the city of North Adams and became part of the College campus.


Photo of President Freel

President Eugene F. Freel

President Freel was a faculty member in the psychology department for six years prior to his presidency at North Adams State Teachers College.

Under President Freel's administration, the College expanded in many ways. In 1960, the Teachers College became a full-fledged State College. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees were offered in nine majors including one in medical technology - the first course of its kind in the state. A science building (Venable) had been named, Hoosac Hall was under construction, and money had been appropriated for a boiler plant plus the three building complex, now known as Bowman, Eldridge, and the Freel Library, of which was later named for the president.


Photo of President BowmanPresident Grover C. Bowman

President Bowman was regarded as a "teacher's teacher" who produced well trained teachers, and was held in high esteem by his colleagues in education.

He held the role of superintendent of North Adams City Schools before his presidency at North Adams State Teachers College.

Under his administration, North Adams State Teachers College became one of the few teachers colleges to be accredited by the New England School and College Association.

On June 19, 1955, Bowman received an honorary degree from Williams, one of the few northern Berkshire men outside the Williams community to be conferred with such a degree.


Photo of President EldridgePresident Albert G. Eldridge

President Eldridge was a champion of higher, even as the nation underwent challenging times.

Prior to his role as president of North Adams Normal School, Eldridge was a faculty member.

Under his administration, Eldridge guided the school through its transition from a Normal School, offering two and three year courses to a four-year degree granting college.

During his presidency, the nation was in the midst the Great Depression. President Eldridge worked to ensure ways to allow students to remain in school during this time.

The present administration building is named for President Eldridge.


Photo of President SmithPrincipal Leon Smith
1921 to 1932

Principal Leon Smith served as both faculty and administrator at the Normal School of North Adams. He held the position of instructor of science, and also taught a range of courses.

Under his tenure, Principal Smith provided a more comprehensive training, inaugurated summer sessions, strengthened courses and ushered the school toward being a degree-granting institution, which it became in 1932 as the North Adams State Teachers College.

Smith House was first named for the president in 1967, and later rededicated on June 8, 1985 during the annual meeting of the Alumni Association.


President MurdockPrincipal Frank F. Murdock

Principal Murdock served as the first principal of the North Adams Normal School from 1896 to 1921. A role he held for 25 years.

The North Adams Normal School was one of four created by the Massachusetts state legislature in 1894. North Adams was selected due its rapid growth, and the need to train public school teachers.

Principal Murdock was regarded as an ardent leader in the development of public education in Massachusetts. Under Murdock's leadership, the North Adams Normal School became very selective, making it an honor to be admitted.

Murdock Hall is named after Principal Murdock.