Dr. Matthew D. Shank was announced as Marymount University’s president emeritus by the Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening during a reception to honor him and celebrate the success of his seven years as president. Among his many accomplishments, President Emeritus Shank oversaw the development of the University’s Ballston Center, the expansion of both the academic and athletic programs and a momentous $40 million capital campaign that will meet its fundraising goal three years ahead of schedule.
He is credited with reinforcing Marymount’s Catholic identity, revitalizing the main campus through renovation and beautification projects and having the vision to grow athletics from a 12-sport program to offering 19 programs when the academic year begins in August. As a parting gift to the University, he and his wife, Lynne, have established The Shank Family Service Scholarship, provided through an endowment gift from the couple and contributions being made in their honor.
“Dr. Shank has had an enormous impact on MU, not only during the course of his presidency but for the foreseeable future as well,” said Dr. Edward Bersoff
, chair of Marymount’s board of trustees. “He has deeply understood the role of the University in our community and the actions necessary to maintain it as a vibrant force going forward. It is not only his vision that set the tone but also his bias for action to actually implement that vision.”
“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve Marymount University,” said Shank. “It has been a joy to work with so many intelligent, passionate and genuinely caring faculty, staff, students and University constituents. Together, we have accomplished much, and Marymount is strong and poised for even greater success.”
Effective July 16, Shank will join the World Affairs Council-Washington, D.C., as its interim president. It is a position for which he is well-suited. He has served on its board and in recognition of Marymount’s focus on preparing students for today’s globalized environment, Shank accepted on the University’s behalf the 2017 Educator of the Year Award from the Council.
His commitment to solidify and broaden the University’s global position was reflected in a bilateral cooperation agreement with Hungary’s National University of Public Service that focuses on criminal justice, forensics and cybersecurity. He also serves on the board of the American University of the Emirates and signed an agreement to promote exchange between that university and Marymount.
Shank assumed Marymount’s presidency in 2011. During his first year, he led a campus-wide initiative that clarified the University’s identity, resulting in its Common Ground tenets: Intellectual Curiosity, Global Perspective and Service to Others. Under these essential pillars, Marymount’s liberal arts education builds upon its founding mission to teach, mentor and develop servant-leaders.
The expansion of academic programs during his administration has yielded increased diversity in the student population and an 11 percent increase in student retention rates. He has been an advocate for new, relevant academic programs such as a doctorate in cybersecurity, an undergraduate program in biochemistry and a graduate certificate in association management undertaken in collaboration with the American Society for Association Executives Center for Association Leadership.
Marymount’s campus has experienced growth and improvement under Shank, with multimillion-dollar renovations to its main campus’ academic, residential and athletic facilities, as well as its chapel. Most recently, the University opened its new Ballston Center. Located two miles from the main campus, the mixed-use complex includes an academic tower with six floors of educational space and another three floors leased to businesses. The Rixey, a 12-story residential building, connects to the academic tower by a public courtyard/green space.
Before his tenure at Marymount, Shank was dean of the University of Dayton School of Business Administration and chaired Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Management and Marketing. He was an American Council on Education fellow in the Office of the Chancellor at Vanderbilt University and held academic appointments at the University of Mississippi and Southern Illinois University.
In November, Shank announced his intention to step down as of June 30 and requested the board begin a search process. In May, it named Dr. Irma Becerra
as MU’s seventh president, effective July 1. Dr. Becerra comes to Marymount from Florida’s St. Thomas University, where she was provost and chief academic officer.
Marymount University is an independent, coeducational Catholic university offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines. For more information, visit www.marymount.edu.
Dr. Matthew D. Shank