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Historic choice for Le Moyne College president discusses challenges of the job

Ellen Abbott/WRVO
Linda LeMura and her husband at Le Moyne College's announcement that she will be the new president.

LeMoyne College is making history with it’s new president.  Linda LeMura will soon become the first lay female president at a Jesuit institution anywhere in the world.

The LeMoyne College Board of Directors unanimously agreed this week to offer LeMura, the schools provost and dean of arts and sciences, the job of becoming the Jesuit school’s 14th president.  In her ten years at LeMoyne, she’s been instrumental in strengthening the core curriculum, which requires students to take more math and science, and interdisciplinary courses in order to get a degree. LeMura says a liberal arts education is more important now than ever, something that’s been lost in recent years, because of concerns that there are no jobs out there for liberal arts grads.

“The irony, if you will, in terms of the public scrutiny, is that the more competitive jobs are, the more we need students trained in the liberal arts, who are so nimble economically and intellectually, they can move from job to job rather than focus on a hyper-specialized education that will only serve them for a short period of time,” said LeMura.

LeMura says one of her priorities will be to corral the spiraling cost of higher education.

"That will be one of my primary foci in the days ahead.  In order to make education more affordable, we need to be able to partner with other institutions of higher learning, in order to keep the costs and escalation of tuition at a minimum. We recognize that if we continue to raise tuition at high rates, we are closing out the very students that we desire to serve.”

She says her appointment as president speaks to the direction universities, especially Jesuit ones, are going.

“It demonstrates to young women in particular, and men as well, that women can lead outstanding institutions of higher learning, and that Jesuit institutions in particular are interested in partnering in all kinds of lay leadership,” she said

LeMura begins her term in July 1.