James McCarthy Named Ninth President of Suffolk


After a year and a half of interim leadership, Suffolk University passed the presidential reins from Acting President and Provost Barry Brown to James McCarthy on February 1, 2012. McCarthy becomes Suffolk’s ninth President, following David J. Sargent, who retired in October of 2010.

Most recently provost and senior vice president at Baruch College of the City University of New York, McCarthy comes to Suffolk after stints at Princeton University, the International Statistical Institute in London and Trinity College, Dublin. He also served at Johns Hopkins, Columbia and the University of New Hampshire. While at Baruch, an urban institution with 18,000 students and 500 faculty members, McCarthy steered the college through reaccreditation and strategic planning processes, both of which Suffolk faces in the near future.

A sociologist and demographer, President McCarthy holds a Ph.D. from Princeton, an M.A. from Indiana University and an A.B. from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. Because of his time in Massachusetts and nearby New Hampshire, he feels a special affection for the city of Boston, one thing that led him to accept the presidency of Suffolk.

In his two weeks at the helm of Suffolk, President McCarthy has embarked on a listening tour, meeting with the faculties and staffs of the Law School, the Sawyer Business School and the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Student Government. He has plans to visit every department in the University for a first-hand look at what he’s inheriting.

In a open forum held on February 7th, and another a week later with CAS faculty, McCarthy demonstrated an impressive grasp of the issues confronting Suffolk, given the fact that he’d been President for 4 days at the first and then 11. At the first meeting he was relaxed and genial, displaying flashes of humor, confidence without a trace of arrogance, making, overall, a very positive first impression. At the second he went straight to specifics, promising to continue Suffolk’s traditions of accessibility and excellence, addressing his preference for a decentralized and somewhat simplified system of governance, a commitment to crystal-clear two-way communication, and a desire to restore the family atmosphere some think has been lacking in recent years. Though he only indirectly addressed the issue of facilities for NESADSU, it is clearly on his agenda and we’re therefore hopeful for a quick resolution to this vexing issue. He did, however, urge anyone with a question or problem to email him directly, something that we have already found works perfectly.

NESADSU welcomes James McCarthy to Suffolk and hopes to work closely with him to find solutions to the issues confronting the art school and the rest of the University.