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Marymount president to step down next summer

Matthew D. Shank has announced plans to step down after seven years as president of Marymount University in Arlington, effective June 30, 2018.

“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve Marymount University,” said Shank. “It has been a joy to work with so many intelligent, passionate and genuinely caring faculty, staff, students and University constituents. Together, we have accomplished much, and as 2017 draws to a close, Marymount is strong and poised for even greater success.”

Shank said the university is well-positioned for a transition to its seventh president, citing a number of initiatives either recently completed or nearing completion — such as the university’s five-year strategic plan, redevelopment of its Ballston Center, reaffirmation of its accreditation and a capital campaign.

“After much personal reflection and prayer, I have asked Board of Trustees Chairperson Ed Bersoff to initiate a presidential search,” he said.

The consulting firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates will lead a national effort to select the school’s next president.

“I am extremely grateful to Matthew Shank for his faithful years of service to Marymount University,” said Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in a statement released Nov. 7. “Since my arrival in the Diocese of Arlington, Dr. Shank has welcomed me and made efforts to involve me in the activities of Marymount University. During this time of transition, I offer my sincere prayers for Dr. Shank and his family that God would continue to bless them.”

“Dr. Shank means more to Marymount than I can adequately express,” said Bersoff, chairman of Greenwich Associates LLC. “We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his vision and leadership in the implementation of our strategic plan and development of a new master plan, the momentum of our $40 million capital campaign, enhancement of our reputation, the growth of our academic programs and facilities and so much more.”

Bersoff added that Shank has the option of taking a year’s leave and then joining Marymount’s School of Business Administration in the fall of 2019 as a professor of marketing.

A well-respected teacher, scholar and administrator, Shank assumed the presidency of Marymount in 2011 and has invigorated the campus community through collaborative development of a shared vision and emboldened academic and athletic programs with campus facilities to match.

In 2011-12, he led a task force charged with discerning a shared understanding of Marymount’s core values and organizational climate to articulate a vision for the university’s future. The campus-wide process clarified the university’s identity, resulting in its Common Ground tenets: Intellectual Curiosity, Global Perspective and Service to Others. Under these essential pillars, Marymount’s liberal arts education builds upon its founding mission to teach, mentor and develop servant-leaders.

On the heels of establishing the Marymount vision, Shank led development of the university’s strategic plan: Building the Institution of Choice, currently in its final year of implementation.

The expansion of academic programs during Shank’s administration has yielded increased diversity in the student population and an 11 percent increase in student retention rates. He has been an advocate for new, relevant academic programs such as a doctorate in cybersecurity, an undergraduate program in biochemistry and a graduate certificate in association management undertaken in collaboration with the American Society for Association Executives Center for Association Leadership. Other community connections have been forged as well. For example, a MedStar National Rehabilitation Network outpatient center is located in the same academic facility as Marymount’s physical therapy program, offering exceptional therapy services to the community while at the same time providing clinical rotations to physical therapy doctoral students.

In fall 2016, Shank announced the most ambitious capital campaign in Marymount’s history. Under his direction, the $40 million goal is on track to be met this fiscal year, more than two years ahead of schedule.

During his tenure, Marymount’s campus has experienced considerable growth and improvement. The main campus saw a multimillion-dollar renovation to academic, residential and athletic facilities, as well as its chapel. Most recently, the university opened its new Ballston Center. Located two miles from the main campus, the innovative mixed-use complex includes an academic tower with six floors of educational space and another three floors to be leased to businesses, offsetting costs of the new facility with additional revenues.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017