Dr. Colette McCarrick Geary comes to St. Scholastica from The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, NY, a private Catholic college founded by Ursuline nuns in 1904. She served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives there starting in 2014. She joined New Rochelle in 2010 as Vice President for Student Services.
Geary, who is Catholic, is the first laywoman to lead St. Scholastica, and the first female president since Sister Joan Braun served as interim president more than 40 years ago.
"When I shared the news of my appointment with my mother, she commented that it was remarkable to think of what education had done for our family in a single generation," Geary said during the April 1 ceremony announcing her appointment. "Neither of my parents had a college education. My father had a sixth-grade education in a one-room school house. He immigrated to this country when he was 18 years old. As parents, they made the education of their seven children a priority, and this decision demanded many sacrifices of them. Over 40 percent of The College of St. Scholastica's undergraduates are first-generation students, like me. And so for me to have the privilege of leading this college — well, I think it is a remarkable testament to the importance of this work that we share in higher education. The opportunity of a college education has a transformative impact on the lives of individuals, their families, and on the well-being of communities and society at large."
Geary holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY, a B.S. in psychology from Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York City, and is completing an M.A. in theology at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.
Her professional development experience includes the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and the Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration of the Wellesley Institute in Boston.
At The College of New Rochelle, Geary led implementation of a strategic plan, working across six campuses and four schools. She also oversaw the Office of Mission and Ministry, which promotes mission-based commitments in the life of the college, key elements of which include an emphasis on the value of the liberal arts; a special commitment to the education of women; expanding educational access to populations historically underserved by higher education; and an emphasis on lifelong learning.
Earlier, Geary had worked at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY, as Dean of Students. She taught in the School of Education graduate programs for 11 years. Prior to her work at Manhattan College, Geary was Staff Psychologist and Unit Director at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Montrose, NY, and had a private practice specializing in cognitive-behavioral approaches to the treatment of psychological disorders.
Geary's husband, Michael, is a longtime faculty member at Albertus Magnus College, a Catholic liberal arts college in Connecticut. He is coordinator of the Criminal Justice program and serves as pre-law advisor. His scholarly interests are at the intersection of national security and civil society.
The Gearys have three daughters: Brianna, 26, who works for the Peace Corps, Cailean, 22, who works for a company called Mathematica conducting education policy research, and Mariah, who just graduated from high school and plans to study history or political science at college.