This article originally appeared in the Boston Business Journal, March 25–31, 2005.
As president of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Gloria Nemerowicz helped the women's liberal arts school grow by 70 percent to 500 students. In March, Nemerowicz also received an award for diversity achievement from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and the school has merited national recognition as well. Nemerowicz spoke about her accomplishments at Pine Manor post-secondary education for women with reporter Tom Witkowski.
How diverse has the school become?
We are about 10 percent international students from about 20 different countries. We are about 55 percent women of color from the United States and the rest Caucasian. The women of color are African-American, Haitian, Asian, Latina, Cape Verdean. What doesn't get measured by any ranking system is socioeconomics Eighty percent of our population gets some kind of help financially and a significant percentage would really be considered from lower-income groups. About 30 percent come directly from the Boston public schools.
What steps as president have you taken since 1996 to increase and maintain diversity?
We did a lot of legwork just in and around Boston, partnering with other agencies that are also interested in diverse populations of women.
I now have the president of the YWCA on the board. (We have been) trying to raise the awareness of people in the Boston public schools that Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill is an appropriate place and welcoming place for students graduating from the Boston public schools; There was a lot of outreach, and there still is. We also reduced tuition, not insignificantly, in 1998 by 34 percent. We were fortunate to get a $4 million unrestricted bequest from an alum who passed away. This is what really gave the board the courage...it was a beginning point. It clearly was an outreach strategy, a message strategy, a volume strategy, more people paying fewer dollars.
What was the tuition?
Just about what it is now, and it's about $23,000 to $24,000 for tuition, room and board. We're just about back to where we were seven years ago.
How do you keep costs down?
We're going to bring together some other colleges like Pine Manor, in terms of size, small size, small endowment and at least the desire to diversify and open up the campuses to broader populations.... We're trying to create a new financial model that relies more heavily on philanthropy, more heavily on people wanting to see these kind of schools thrive and survive.
What was your reaction to Harvard President Lawrence Summers' comments about women and the fields of math and science?
Science is one of the majors that was added last to the Pine Manor BA curriculum— this was before I got here — and it now vies for first place (in popularity). It's a very strong major.
Do you think the gender conversation is worth having, from an academic point of view?
We've had it. And we've had it about race. Free discussion of ideas is fine, but there's lots of evidence, and I'm living in a laboratory of evidence right here.
Highlights on Nemerowicz
- Earned undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees in sociology at Rutgers University.
- Created an institute on women's leadership at Wells College in Aurora, N.Y.
- Author of "Children's Perception of Gender and Work Roles" and coauthor of two other books.
Fri, March 25, 2005
by Tom Witkowski, Boston Business Journal