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Elms College President Announces Retirement

CHICOPEE — Mary Reap, IHM, Ph.D., president of the College of Our Lady of the Elms, has announced that she will retire in the summer of 2017, according to Cynthia Lyons, chair of the Elms College board of trustees.

In accepting Reap’s retirement, Lyons said, “On behalf of the board of trustees, I wish to express our sincere gratitude for all Sr. Mary has given to the College of Our Lady of the Elms during her tenure. Her accomplishments will serve as the firm foundation upon which the future of the college will be built. This year will provide us with the opportunity to celebrate Sr. Mary and her many contributions to our college and our community. Sr. Mary’s guidance, dedication and vision will leave a lasting legacy on the Elms campus and in the hearts of all who love this college.”

Since arriving at Elms College in 2009, Reap has made a profound impact on both the academic programs and the campus itself. It was her vision, for example, that instituted a successful fundraising effort for the new Center for Natural and Health Sciences building, which now serves as the crown jewel of the campus.

Reap has also been instrumental in the creation of articulation agreements between Elms College and every community college in Western Mass. and into Worcester County to develop completion programs for adult students. During her tenure, the college also added to its graduate offerings by developing DNP (doctor of nursing practice) and MBA (master of business administration) programs.

“We are committed by our mission to carry on the legacy of the Sisters of St. Joseph in as many ways as possible through our thoughts and actions,” Reap explained. “The very fabric of the college is to serve the spiritual, social and healthcare needs of our dear neighbors as the sisters have done throughout the diocese over so many years.”

Reap will remain as president through the academic year, and will assist the trustees in the college’s search for a new president, in addition to other projects related to the development of a Master Campus Plan, and strategic refinement of programs and services to meet the needs of the college over the next year and beyond.

The board of trustees will form a search committee, and a national search for a permanent successor will take place. The national search firm R.H. Perry and Associates has been hired to assist in the search.

Reap joined the Congregation of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in 1961. She previously served as president of her alma mater, Marywood University in Scranton, Pa., from 1988 to 2007, completing the longest tenure of any president in the school’s history. At Marywood, Reap oversaw the school’s transition from college to university status. Her many successes at the university were recognized when the Reap College of Education and Human Development was named in her honor.

“Elms College is a very special place,” she said. “It has been a great joy and a privilege to have served as its president for eight years. I look forward to its bright future and continued growth.”

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