When Mary K. Grant steps into her role as seventh chancellor of UNC Asheville in January 2015, she’ll be on familiar footing, having served for 12 years as president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), a designated public liberal arts university and a fellow member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.
“I have a profound passion for the mission of UNC Asheville,” Grant says. “I think about how my life has been shaped by public higher education–I’m a graduate of two public institutions–and I believe deeply in it. It’s a sector that needs continued strong leadership and advocacy in telling our story.”
Grant holds an undergraduate degree in sociology from North Adams State College (now MCLA), a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Massachusetts and a doctorate in social policy from Brandeis University. She’s worked as both an educator and administrator, with a focus on student success.
“When I talk with students about what they are going to do next, it makes me excited, because they talk about opportunities. They are not frightened by the future, and they talk about how they can shape their own future. It’s the confidence that comes with a high-quality liberal arts education.”
Grant is confident she’ll find that same determined nature in the Bulldogs, when she and her husband, Jim Canavan, join their new community in Asheville. Coming from the MCLA Trailblazers, they are ready to discover and define new paths while working with the community to build upon the strong foundation at UNC Asheville.
“We are so excited about this move because of the people that we have met. We can see ourselves being a part of something and making a difference alongside people who care about the same things we do.”