Presidential Transition 2018-02-23T19:10:13+00:00

Metropolitan College of New York Names Dr. Joanne Passaro as Sixth President

Dr. Joanne Passaro is a cultural anthropologist who holds B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University.  Since 2007, she has served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. At Carroll, she led the development of more than 20 programs, launched a new School of Business and led both primary and program-specific accreditations.  She previously served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and as Acting Provost and Vice President for Planning and Institutional Assessment at Mercy College, here in New York.  Her research work with homeless men and women in New York City cemented her commitment to higher education and social justice.

Dr. Passaro will join the MCNY community on July 1, 2018 following the retirement of President Vinton Thompson, Ph.D. after ten years of service.

“I am delighted that Dr. Passaro had been appointed to serve as the next leader of MCNY.  She brings a combination of experience, passion and dedication that will serve the college well.  In addition, her personal history as a non-traditional student resonates with the needs and experiences of MCNY students.  I look forward to supporting her and the College as she takes the lead in carrying on our great mission in the spirit of our founder Audrey Cohen.”   – Dr. Vinton Thompson, President

Passaro was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens.  She and her spouse, Ginger Duiven, who currently serves as Executive Director of Literacy Services of Wisconsin, will relocate from Milwaukee to New York City sometime in the spring.

Chair Armstrong said the Presidential Search Committee’s success was due to the thoughtful participation of the entire MCNY community, as well as the hard work and cooperation among its members.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the search committee for their commitment to the College’s future and their thoughtfulness and dedication during this process,” said Armstrong.

The search committee, which 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 the area of higher education. With the firm’s assistance, the committee spent the summer of 2017 conducting community forums and interviews with MCNY stakeholders. From these sessions several common and important themes emerged that were ultimately reflected in the candidate profile, which drew a large and diverse pool of qualified applicants.  The Search Committee then hosted semi-finalist interviews in December and invited four finalists to visit MCNY.  The entire campus community engaged with the finalists and shared their feedback with the Search Committee.

The search began when Dr. Thompson announced his retirement in June 2017, effective June 2018.  During his tenure, MCNY re-established a presence in the Bronx with a Branch Campus, created five new degree programs, and successfully completed a primary re-accreditation.   In 2016, MCNY had its most successful fundraising year ever, bringing in more than $3.2 million in grants and gifts.  The College also carried out the largest projects in its 54-year history, building and financing new facilities in Manhattan and the Bronx.

“Dr. Thompson’s service has been an inspiration, leading us all through some of the college’s most challenging times,” Armstrong noted, “creating the solid foundation that we enjoy today.”

Dr. Thompson will preside over his last commencement ceremony for MCNY on June 16, 2018 at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center.  Dr. Passaro will become President-elect on June 1, and will spend time on both campuses getting to know the MCNY community before assuming office on July 1, 2018.

“Collaboration and partnership have been the cornerstones of my success, and I am confident that they will be the foundation of another successful decade as Metropolitan College of New York reaches new heights in the realization of its distinctive and important educational mission.”  Dr. Joanne Passaro

“The Board of Trustees is confident that Dr. Passaro has the experience, vision, and passion for MCNY’s unique mission of access and opportunity to lead us into the future.”

– Charles Armstrong, Chair, Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee

Dr. Joanne Passaro



Dr. Joanne Passaro is a cultural anthropologist who earned B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University. Her work focused on the impact of systems of race, class and gender in the lived experiences of men and women in a variety of settings, including Latin America, Africa, Europe and the United States. Passaro published a book on homelessness in New York in 1996 as well as articles related to culture, gender, ethnicity, and higher education. She has also presented more than 60 lectures and workshops on issues related to anthropology and to higher education.

Dr. Passaro served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Carroll University in Wisconsin from 2007-2018. In that role, she has had the privilege to work with colleagues on initiatives that delivered over a decade of success in terms of significant improvements in financial strength, academic outcomes, and investments in new academic programs and facilities. Among the hallmarks of her time at Carroll was the internationalization of the campus and the development of a new core curriculum distinguished by its integrating theme of culture. Dr. Passaro has substantial accreditation experience, and since 2014 she has been a member of the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications.

Prior to her work at Carroll, Passaro served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and for seven years served in a number of positions at Mercy College in New York, including as Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Planning and Institutional Assessment.

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