Mitchell College President Mary Ellen Jukoski Plans To Step Down

Jukoski announced yesterday that she will end one of the longest runs among modern college presidencies on June 30, 2014, following Mitchell’s seventy-fifth anniversary.

Mitchell College President, Mary Ellen Jukoski, Ed.D. Photo Credit: Mitchell College
Mitchell College President, Mary Ellen Jukoski, Ed.D. Photo Credit: Mitchell College
A Press Release from Mitchell College

Mitchell College President, Mary Ellen Jukoski, Ed.D., announced yesterday that she will end one of the longest runs among modern college presidencies on June 30, 2014, following Mitchell’s seventy-fifth anniversary.

“I have been so fortunate to lead an amazing institution that has undergone significant transformation. It has been a privilege and an honor to collaborate with such dedicated faculty and committed staff during its evolution from a regional two-year institution into a four-year college that is now a national leader in student-centered learning and engagement,” Jukoski said.

In 1994, having served as Dean from 1990, Dr. Jukoski was appointed interim President. After a national search, she was chosen as Mitchell’s first female and sixth President in March, 1995. She made a long-term commitment to serve as President because she knew that the College needed stable leadership and a vision for the future.

“I have always loved being in an educational community where students with diverse backgrounds and differing learning styles and needs can find themselves and flourish,” Jukoski explained. “This is my passion.”

Citing recent achievements including expanded campus facilities, renewed 10-year accreditation, spearheading the move into NCAA Division III, new athletic programs, plans for graduate programs, increased endowment, and financial stability despite turbulent times in the economic downturn, Jukoski said, “I am proud of having positioned Mitchell for success squarely in the twenty-first century in a new era where colleges must be agile to embrace emerging trends in learning in higher education.”

Enrollment under Jukoski’s tenure has almost tripled and the endowment fund has doubled. In the past year alone, the number of students applying to Mitchell rose by nearly 20 percent, yielding a Fall class 32 percent larger than one year ago. Jukoski’s final year is poised to be one of celebration and setting the stage for a smooth and seamless transition for the college to welcome the next president.

“Like any player, I have always believed that I should leave at the top of my game,” quipped Jukoski, a huge fan of all of Mitchell’s athletic teams. “In the coming years, I want to have the chance to use the lessons learned at Mitchell to help shape the overall higher education environment.”  

After stepping down from the presidency, she plans on taking a year-long sabbatical to explore and pursue a number of opportunities to serve the wider non-profit educational community and write on matters related to the changes higher education is experiencing.

“President Jukoski’s service has been extraordinary,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ivey, Chair of the Mitchell College Board of Trustees. “Not only has Dr. Jukoski nurtured Mitchell College along with the times, she has made Mitchell a welcomed anchor institution in New London and Southern New England. Mary Ellen has left a real legacy at Mitchell with the college in a very solid academic and stable financial position so that we will be able to search for our next leader.”

In addition to growing Mitchell from a two-year college into a four-year institution that offers nearly 30 baccalaureate majors, and the creation of the Thames Academy, a credit-granting post high school graduate program, Jukoski led Mitchell’s first comprehensive campaign, conceptualized and implemented several strategic plan processes, championed the recent revised Mitchell mission, values, and vision, which was developed with the input by the entire college community and approved by the Board of Trustees, and has thoroughly transformed the Mitchell campus.

During her presidency, a campus master plan was completed which includes numerous new buildings, facility improvements, and living-learning renovations for students. Among them are: the creation of the Duquès Center that houses Mitchell’s outstanding Bentsen Learning Center; Mariner Hall, a major suite-style residence; Henry Hall with new admissions and financial aid offices; the conversion of the historic former President’s House into communications and advancement offices; and the purchase of Michael’s Dairy, a popular New London ice cream store, that now also houses the new college radio station.

Renovations of the Weller Center, the Milner Dining Hall, the library, Mitchell Hall, and the addition of the Yarnall Fitness Center, a student center, and a health and wellness center, have also helped turn the former Mitchell estate into a beautifully historic, yet thoroughly up-to-date, riverfront campus that features sailing and environmental restoration.

Jukoski’s tenure has also been marked by her extraordinary community involvement and as a staunch ambassador for the college in Southeastern Connecticut and throughout the New England Region through her service as a member of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and through her work on numerous boards and councils such as the United Way, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, Chelsea Groton Bank, Connecticut Campus Compact, and the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges.  

Most recently, her innovative partnership between the college and the New London STEM Magnet High School where courses are offered to both high school and Mitchell students.
President Jukoski has also received significant recognition and awards during her tenure. Jukoski was awarded a major, competitive five-year, $2 million dollar Federal Title III grant which moved the college to an innovative ability-based education model with matching funding to the college endowment. She also brought to Mitchell a Johnson Scholarship Foundation grant for career services for students with learning disabilities, and a Davis Educational Foundation grant for a new Center for Teaching Excellence.

Jukoski earned her doctorate from the University of Memphis in higher education curriculum and instruction. She was selected to participate in the prestigious, three-year W. K. Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellows Program and received an Excellence in Education Award as a Distinguished Alumni of SUNY Albany, the Crawford Award for Distinguished Service from the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, recognition as one of 100 Women’s Leaders by the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut, and as one of “25 Uncommon Women in Connecticut” by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

Connecticut College summed up her achievements in awarding her an honorary doctorate by noting that her, “leadership and foresight have transformed Mitchell College into a thriving institution with a vibrant community, innovative academic program and ambitious plans for the future. You work hard to build bridges with other schools, colleges, educational programs across the State and New England.”


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