Mary-Beth A. Cooper, PhD, DM, became the 13th president of Springfield College in August 2013, bringing to the College her experience from a long and distinguished career in higher education administration and community service.
With her leadership, the Springfield College community has experienced a unified rededication to its Humanics philosophy and mission to educate students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others. In all areas of campus life, President Cooper fosters an environment that prioritizes shared governance among faculty, staff, and students and promotes an environment that is safe and welcoming for the College community and its city neighbors.
Under her leadership, the Springfield College strategic plan, Pathway to the Future, has engaged hundreds across the campus in imagining and realizing our shared future. In Phase One, launched in 2015, the value of the College endowment reached an all-time high and the largest class of new students was welcomed. Further accomplishments include completing a comprehensive academic program review; introducing a new Core Curriculum; adopting a comprehensive approach to cohesive branding and storytelling; opening the innovative Harold C. Smith Learning Commons; establishing the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship and the Center for Service and Leadership; and launching the $50 million Advancing Humanics campaign and a diversity and inclusion plan. Of particular note is the partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to create an intercollegiate adaptive baseball field contained within the championship-quality intercollegiate baseball field. The Aschermann Family Field, referred to as the "Springfield Model" by the Ripken Foundation, is the first of its kind and includes an artificial turf field, bullpens, batting cages, a new grandstand, a new scoreboard, and sound system that serves both the adaptive and the Springfield College team fields. Phase Two of Pathway to the Future launched in 2021 and focuses on thoughtful and bold strategies to ensure that Springfield College remains a great place to work and a top choice for prospective students and employees.
Known for her volunteer leadership, President Cooper serves on the Board of Governors of the NCAA, and chairs the Board of Directors for the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference and Educare Springfield. She is a past chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts and remains on the board of the organization. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, DevelopSpringfield, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She served on the Name, Image, and Likeness Committee of the NCAA and previously served on the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Committee on Policy Analysis and Public Relations and was appointed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to serve on the Special Commission to Study the Incorporation of Safe and Effective Pain Treatment and Prescribing Practices into the Professional Training of Students that may Prescribe Controlled Substances. President Cooper is a frequent speaker on a range of topics, including intercollegiate athletics, advancing women in higher education, and the college and university context.
President Cooper earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware, a Master of Education from the University of Georgia, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Rochester, a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration from Michigan State University, and a Doctor of Management from Case Western Reserve University.
President Cooper lives on the Springfield College campus with her husband, Dave and their chocolate lab, Jack.