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Margaret A. McKenna

2016 Speaker

MARGARET A. McKENNA is a lawyer and educator, is a leading expert in educational opportunity, civic engagement and philanthropy.  She is president emeritus of Lesley University. In July 2016, she left her position as president of Suffolk University. While there, McKenna was involved in a well-chronicled dispute with the board of trustees over issues of governance. The university had had five presidents in five years and while some reforms were accomplished in McKenna’s tenure, the account of this challenging year has become the basis for numerous governance cases and discussions. McKenna previously served as president of the Walmart Foundation. She came to Lesley from Radcliff College, Harvard University, where she served as director of the Bunting Institute and vice president. McKenna serves on a number of boards, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, National Summer Learning Association; Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Fenway Community Health Center. She led Education transition teams for President Clinton and for the Mayor of Boston and has served on national and state commissions and task forces. The recipient of ten Honorary Degrees, McKenna has received awards from a variety of national and regional organizations including Meals on Wheels, Feeding America, Women’s Equity Action League, Big Sister, Council of Independent Colleges, the International Tallories Network of Universities, City Year and the Boston Chamber of Commerce.