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Saying Goodbye to Dean Mary Coleman

[Additional reporting for this piece was done by Samantha Shapiro.]

Dr. Mary Coleman has been the Dean of Lesley University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) for almost five years. She will be leaving her position at the university to become Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU), a Boston-based charitable organization.

During her time at Lesley, Dean Coleman  has strengthened many of the liberal arts programs, something she outlined as a goal for herself upon accepting the position of Dean. In the fall of 2014, she taught a first-year seminar course on The American Dream. She says she loves teaching, even though it is “labor intensive.”

When asked about her greatest accomplishments at Lesley, Dean Coleman cited high retention rates for three of her four years here (between 85 and 94 percent), stable and growing enrollment, and thirty-five percent of students continuing their education in graduate school.

“The accomplishments of a dean are, in part, the accomplishments of the entire college and all of the staff, not just one person– but those are accomplishments of which I am very proud.”
“I am really proud of the faculty,” she added, “they are great teachers and very good scholars, and so committed to the university.” Asked what her favorite thing about Lesley students was, the dean answered “their intelligence and kindness”–a combination she believes is what adds to the feeling of community on campus.

Dean Coleman expressed excitement about joining CWU, whose primary goal, according to their website, is to provide “mentoring, housing, family support, and education and workforce development programs” to low-income women and their families. Helping to create enduring pathways out of poverty is something she is very passionate about. “I’m very committed to children and families,” she said, “and I hope that I can, in some modest way, make a contribution in my role with CWU.”  More information about Crittenton Women’s Union can be found at their website,

On Monday, May 11, a reception was held in Alumni Hall in Dean Coleman’s honor. Students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to say goodbye to the dean, whose last day will be May 18th, and to thank her for the numerous contributions she has made in her time here at Lesley.

Photo by Mark Teiwes, Lesley University

Photo by Mark Teiwes, Lesley University

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