THE ACCOMPLISHED AMONG US
By Diane Feen
If there’s one thing about Boca Raton it’s that you never know who is walking beside you. There are doctors, lawyers, writers, retirees, real estate agents (and everything in between).
If you haven’t met Dr. Susan Resneck Pierce, then you might not know that she is President Emerita of the University of Puget Sound, where she served as President from 1992 to 2003.
What you also may not know about Dr. Pierce is that she elevated Puget Sound into the ranks of the National Liberal Arts Colleges and raised the endowment from $68 million to $213 million.
There are a lot of things that Dr. Pierce did in her college president days (including publishing books and papers), and to honor her wonderful accomplishments a chair in humanities and a lecture series in public affairs was named after her. And if that’s not a big enough feather in her cap, the atrium of Puget Sound’s new Humanities Building is now named after her as well.
You could say that this woman – who walks beside you in Publix or at the post office – is very accomplished, prolific and continues to contribute to the health and welfare of our colleges and society at large. She also recently published a book called, On Being Presidential; A Guide for College and University Leaders.
That is why she will be the moderator at the Authors & Ideas panel featuring FAU President MJ Saunders and Lynn University President Kevin Ross at the Festival of the Arts BOCA on March 13th. The topic will be: “The Role of the College President in Preparing Citizens of the World.”
If you’re wondering why you should attend this more cerebral discussion, Dr. Pierce will tell you. “The panel should be of interest to people from this area because to continue to thrive, the United States –as both a multicultural society and a participant in a global economy–must prepare our current and future generations of college students to be citizens of the world.”
And one thing we do know is that Dr. Pierce knows what is important and what is disposable data. That is the reason university presidents, trustees and higher Ed organizations hire her as a consultant (her company is called SRP CONSULTING).
In the past few months she spoke at the National Association of Independent Colleges in DC, the Council of Independent Colleges President’s Institute and at a conference sponsored by the National Association of Administrators in Student Affairs.
Let’s just say that Dr. Resneck Pierce is one busy lady. She is grandmother to two young grandsons (six and eight-years-old) and has a daughter (Sasha) and son-in-law (Steven Siegel) in the area. And if you ask her why she moved to Boca Raton eight and a half years ago, Dr. Pierce will tell you it’s because of her family.
Born in the small town of Jamesville, Wisconsin, Dr. Pierce (who was simply Susan in those days) stood out among her peers. She was editor of the high school newspaper and as a youngster she created a newspaper and sold it to the neighbors for a penny a piece.
Her parents Elliott and Dory Resneck always encouraged her to succeed, and her late husband Kenneth continued this tradition of supporting Dr. Pierce’s ascent to the top of the educational pyramid.
There is a lot more to this Boca Raton resident than meets the eye (or the spread sheet). At the National Endowment for the Humanities she directed programs that supported undergraduate education in the humanities; she participated in a project teaching ethics at Harvard, served as Chair of the English Department at Ithaca College, was a Visiting Associate Professor at Princeton, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at University of Tulsa.
There’s a lot more to her resume than that. But, what is important today is that she is prospering in her consulting practice (and is happy to take on new local clients) and is thrilled to be living in Boca Raton.
“When my late husband, Kenneth Pierce and I moved to Boca in 2003 I thought I knew the area well. But, to my pleasure I discovered that living here is an even richer experience than visiting. Early on, I taught a continuing Ed course in literature at FAU and met a lot of people who shared my love of books. My role as co-chair of the Authors & Ideas program for the Festival of the Arts Boca has brought friendships with people who care deeply about music, literature and ideas. I’ve also learned to love Boca’s sunshine.”
To get a ticket for the Festival of the Arts BOCA -http://www.festivaloftheartsboca.org/
Dr. Resneck Pierce website is: www.srpconsulting.com