Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper became the 13th president of Springfield College on August 29, 2013, bringing experience from a long and distinguished career in higher education administration and community leadership.
Choosing to work in education administration because of its vibrant atmosphere, the guiding forces in Cooper’s career have been her passion for learning, her yearning for intellectual stimulation, and her vision for human potential. She firmly believes that education can be the answer to creating a prosperous, successful community of thinkers and doers. In addition to her administrative leadership, she takes seriously her role as a mentor to and advocate for students, women, and athletes.
Prior to her arrival at Springfield College, Cooper served as the senior vice president of student affairs--the chief student affairs officer responsible for the delivery of student services and campus life--at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York from 2001-2013. In addition to that administrative post, Cooper served as distinguished lecturer in the RIT College of Business and as an adjunct professor in the University of Rochester Warner School of Education. Cooper joined RIT in 2001, after having been dean of students at the University of Rochester since 1997. Prior to that, she was vice president for student affairs at St. John Fisher College, also in Rochester.
Cooper was instrumental in significantly improving student satisfaction at RIT, an increase of 24 percent from 2002 to 2012, as measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement. She played a major role in moving men’s and women’s hockey to the NCAA Division I level from Division III. Cooper also co-led the RIT President’s Commission on Women to improve the campus climate for women and is a past recipient of the RIT Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award.
An active member of the Rochester community, Cooper was named one of Rochester’s most influential women by the Rochester Business Journal in 2005. This honor recognizes the achievements of women who work in the highest ranks of Rochester organizations, and make or influence policy decisions. She also served as the chair of the board for the YMCA of Greater Rochester, and co-chair of the Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Rochester. In June 2005, she was named one of Rochester’s most influential women by the Rochester Business Journal. This honor recognizes the achievements of women who work in the highest ranks of area organizations and make or influence policy decisions.
Dr. Cooper has conducted a myriad of professional presentations in a wide variety of venues and she is frequently sought out to serve as a consultant in her field. She has given numerous presentations on campus security and personal safety, management trends in higher education, time management skills, and women’s issues.
Cooper earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree in education from the University of Georgia, a Ph.D. in education administration from Michigan State University, a master’s in business administration from the University of Rochester, and a doctorate of management from Case Western Reserve University. She also has completed two leadership certificate programs offered by Harvard University and recently presented a paper at the University of Oxford Round Table.
Cooper took the helm at Springfield College following a decade of significant growth. The College has experienced unprecedented transformation of programs and facilities, including: expanded enrollment; new doctoral programs; tremendous growth of student life activities; the most successful fund-raising campaign in the College’s history; implementation of an extensive new construction and renovation agenda; significantly improved financial standing; a revitalized relationship with its long-standing legacy partners; and enhanced community relations.
She lives on the Springfield College campus with her husband, David. They have one son, Calvin, and a yellow lab, Dakota. Areas of personal interest include running, golf, swimming, and reading.