Dr. Joanne Passaro Plans to Expand Access to Higher Ed for Underserved & Adult Students
New York, June 12, 2018 — Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY), a non-profit institution with campuses in Manhattan and the Bronx, has announced Joanne Passaro, Ph.D. as its sixth President. Dr. Passaro became President-elect on June 1 and will assume office on July 1, 2018, following the retirement of President Vinton Thompson, Ph.D., after ten years of service. The appointment marks the return of Dr. Passaro to her native New York to pursue her passion for helping nontraditional students succeed.
Dr. Passaro brings an unusual background to her role as a college president, yet one that ideally matches MCNY’s mission and students. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, she returned to college as an adult after working for several years. She was the first nontraditional student to receive a full scholarship at Duke University—and is a first generation college student. She graduated at the age of 30.
“We are excited to have Dr. Passaro here to inspire our students, alumni, and supporters through the example of her own life, as well as her standing as a leader in higher education,” said Charles Armstrong, MCNY’s Chair, Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee. “Her experience as an adult, first-generation college student gives her a profound bond with our students and contributes to her heartfelt determination to help them excel.”
Dr. Joanne Passaro is a cultural anthropologist who holds B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University. Highly committed to social justice and equality throughout her career, she has done notable research on the impact of race, class, and gender in Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. She is the author of The Unequal Homeless: Men on the Streets, Women in their Place, (Routledge, 1996), as well as many articles related to gender, ethnicity, and higher education.
Dr. Passaro stated, “Collaboration is the cornerstone of my success and I look forward to working with faculty, students, and alumni, as well as community and corporate leaders, to build recognition of and support for MCNY. I plan to leverage all my resources and drive to create new opportunities for underserved students.”
Prior to joining MCNY, Dr. Passaro served since 2007 as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Carroll University, the oldest institution of higher education in Wisconsin. There, her accomplishments include the development of more than 20 programs, launching a new School of Business, and spearheading advances in student enrollment and retention. Previously, she served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and as Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Planning and Institutional Assessment at Mercy College in New York.
After more than a decade away from her home city, Dr. Passaro is pleased to return to New York, where she now resides with her spouse, Ginger Duiven.
Dr. Vinton Thompson commented, “We have a proud history of women at the helm, starting with our founder and first president, Audrey Cohen. Dr. Passaro brings the expertise, determination, and vision to carry on this legacy and lead MCNY to greater prominence, so that even more students can benefit from the programs and collaborative community offered here.”
Dr. Passaro was selected by a search that began in June 2017, when Dr. Thompson announced his retirement. The search included representatives from the Board of Trustees, the faculty, staff, students, and alumni, partnered with R.H. Perry & Associates, one of the top executive search firms in higher education. The entire campus community engaged with the finalist candidates and shared their feedback with the Search Committee.
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About Metropolitan College of New York
Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) is a non-profit, accredited institution offering an array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed for working adults. With campuses in Manhattan’s financial district and the Bronx, MCNY was founded in 1964 by Audrey Cohen, an innovative educator who believed in uniting the classroom with the professional world. The college is known for its experiential, Purpose-Centered Education, which fosters personal and professional development, social justice, and positive change. Its student body encompasses diverse ages, genders, and races, offering nontraditional students the flexibility and support to achieve their academic and professional goals.