Ailing Suffolk Gets New Leader

Ann McClure's picture

Suffolk University has a new leader with a mandate to transform the troubled school by trimming expenses, boosting donations, overhauling academic offerings, and shifting its footprint from Beacon Hill into the vacant concrete behemoths of Downtown Crossing.

Last night, the school’s board of trustees approved James McCarthy as its new president, succeeding David Sargent, whose 21-year reign ended in 2010 amid an outcry over his $1.5 million salary, one of the highest among college presidents nationwide.

McCarthy, 62, is a sociologist by training and has worked at both a public university and elite East Coast schools. He is currently provost at Baruch College in New York City. Though he has spent little time at Suffolk and met few faculty members, he will assume his new position Feb. 1.

It will not be a job for the faint of heart.Suffolk is at a critical juncture in its 106-year history.

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