March Message from the Exec Director

March 8, 2021

Celebrating KyCC Women Presidents

A 2019 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education explored “What Happens When Women Run Colleges?” The tag line suggests “Democratic, communal, inclusive. That may be the future of college leadership.”

As we celebrate Women’s History month, Kentucky Campus Compact (KyCC) would like to celebrate three women history-makers who are leading KyCC member institutions. All three share a passion for students, a deep connection to community, and a spirit of innovation. The three include Bellarmine University President Susan M. Donovan, Madisonville Community College President Cynthia Kelley, and Spalding University President Tori Murden McClure. Thank you for your leadership and paving the way for future women presidents!

Dr. Susan M. Donovan became Bellarmine University’s fourth president in 2017. Early in her tenure, BU received a $5 million gift to help pay for an innovative purchase of a medical center located next to campus. The money is the largest outright individual gift in the university’s history. The purchase is an endowment income investment as well as an opportunity for students in academic science programs to connect with community agencies and participate in experiential learning as part of their education.

Dr. Cynthia Kelley started her tenure as president of Madisonville Community College in 2016. Keeping an eye toward innovation, MCC announced on March 1, 2021, the launch of a new aviation program, the first in the KCTCS system to allow students to become professional pilots. President Kelley was also the first KCTCS college president to sign on as a School of National Service, a program designed to support students who formerly served as AmeriCorps members.

Dr. Tori Murden McClure has served as president of Spalding University since 2010. President McClure uses a collaborative leadership model that prioritizes having diverse voices and experiences at the table when making decisions and setting goals for the University. To support this approach, SU became the first university in the world to sign onto the Charter for Compassion, an international initiative intended to bring more justice, equity, and respect to all interactions with others.

Other women serving as presidents in Kentucky higher education include Big Sandy Community and Technical College President Dr. Sherry Zylka, Hazard Community and Technical College President Dr. Jennifer Lindon, Hopkinsville Community College President Dr. Alissa Young, Union College President Dr. Marcia Hawkins, and University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi.