MacMurray names new president

By Gary Scott on May 19, 2015 at 1:11pm

MacMurray College has named its new president.

The college announced this morning Dr. Mark Tierno, the current president of Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, New York, will take over for Colleen Hester.

Tierno has been president of Cazenovia since 2000. According to a MacMurray press release, the school’s enrollment has grown by a third, and the retention rates of both first-year students and the student population as a whole have more than doubled.

Tierno told WLDS-WEAI News this morning says the thing that stood out most to him while presiding over Cazenovia was the expansion of student-learning opportunities both on and off campus.

“More co-curricular student organizations and additional curricular options, international learning opportunities which were absent when I arrived, and just a broad expansion an improvement of what we offer students, as well as an improvement in the facilities for educational proposes,” says Tierno.

“Altogether, I think that focusing on the educational experience of our students has led to some success here.”

Tierno has worked extensively in the Midwest, having been the campus dean and history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan and the chief academic officer at Kendall College in Evanston, Illinois. He’s also led the department of education at Lake Forest College.

He says he’s happy to return to this part of the country.

“MacMurray is a fantastic, historic institution with a great, bright future, and as higher education has experienced some challenges as a result of the Great Recession that we all experienced, we’re all having to make some adjustments to reposition and strengthen our institutions,” he says.

“So, that will be one of the big tasks coming in to MacMurray and helping MacMurray to address those challenges and continue to thrive as a higher education institution.”

Charles O’Connell, chairman of the MacMurray board of trustees, says the choice of Tierno was a unanimous one.

“He increased enrollment immensely over his time frame, and small colleges everywhere struggle with enrollment. He also has proven to be a very, very strong fundraiser,” says O’Connell.

“The other thing, he took a tour around the campus- he actually has some construction projects that he oversaw at Cazenovia- he’s got some good ideas about how to manage that, too.”

O’Connell adds Tierno appears to be extremely open to collaboration with faculty and staff, and that he’s interested in alumni relations.

The search for a new president began in January. There were close to 60 candidates, according to O’Connell. Tierno will officially begin his presidency on July 1st, but O’Connell says he’ll be on campus at the beginning of June.

Raw audio with O’Connell: