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  • Writer's pictureHANNA BABEK

President Alexander to retire after 16 years

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

After 16 years of serving as the university’s president, Michael Alexander will retire on June 30, 2022.

President Alexander has overseen many major events in Lasell’s history, such as transitioning from a college to a university, and the construction and expansion of buildings such as the Science and Technology Center, the Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts, and multiple residence halls.

“It was the fulfillment of a dream,” Alexander said about his time leading Lasell, “I wanted to be a small college president from the time that I was in college, maybe even before that.”

Before serving as president, Alexander studied and worked in higher education, media entertainment, and business.

Of all the positions he’s held, Alexander said, “This job is the best, and it's because the nature of the rewards are different. The reward is to be able to walk through the students in the library every day, pre-COVID, and see them grow and develop right in front of me, and I know that I had some hand in that.”

David Hennessey, Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, said, “Michael’s a very in-touch leader, and he’s very concerned with the student experience. He has the heart for the students and the head for the faculty.”

Provost Eric Turner, who has worked closely with Alexander since the president’s first day at Lasell, said he is a “students’ president.”

President Michael Alexander sits in his office with his dog Lady Di. He became president in 2007, and has been regarded by fellow faculty as having “the heart for the students and the head for the faculty”. He is set to retire at the end of the 2022-23 academic school year. Photo by Hanna Babek

Turner said Alexander takes enjoyment in meeting and introducing himself to first-years on move-in day, and remaining present in their lives until he hands them their diploma through his involvement on campus and his position as an academic advisor.

Turner said the president’s mindset is as follows, “What are we doing to make the student experience the best it can be?’” Turner said. “He wants to make sure that every single student, undergrad or grad, gets out of here what they should and what they’re looking for.”

For Alexander, part of this process of supporting the students includes working as an academic advisor.

One of his advisees is Maeve Willerup, a junior communication major, who says, “I enjoy having the president of the school as my advisor, it makes me feel more comfortable as a student knowing we have a president who wants to be involved in the students' lives.”

Alexander also works with Student Government Association (SGA), including Michael Woo, a senior management and marketing major and SGA’s president.

The pair have collaborated on several projects, including the intergenerational community garden that was reestablished on campus in spring of 2021. Woo said that while collaborating, Alexander “has really just been a great listener and leads with heart in a lot of respects.”

Alexander said that he does not want to think too far ahead to retirement yet because he wants to ensure he stays committed to his current job as president.

“There’s a lot to do, and a lot to get right before I leave,” Alexander said. “And so I want to concentrate on working harder.”

Henry Pugh has worked as Executive Assistant to the President for seven years. He says that without Alexander, “We’re all going to go into the unknown, especially in my position.” Pugh said. “He’ll be greatly missed and he’s left a big mark on this university. He’s got very big shoes to fill.”

The Board of Trustees has hired an executive search firm, WittKieffer, to lead the search for a new president, as well as approved a 15-person Presidential Search Committee. There is a Presidential Transition page on Lasell’s website with information about the progress of the search.

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