Thomas O’Reilly tells the inspiring story of Pine Manor College, which serves more students of color (90%) and first-generation college students (85%) than almost any small private college in the U.S. He shares how he was able to quickly turnaround the College that was in crisis – 6 presidents in 10 years and decades of structural deficits that had depleted the endowment. By developing a range of strategic partnerships and auxiliary revenue streams (that quickly grew to more than 50% of college revenues) he was able to balance the budget and gain national attention for the College’s mission. When the COVID pandemic hit cutting off all this auxiliary revenue overnight, the College was thrown back into crisis. Tom quickly pivoted to Plan B, engineering a strategic partnership with nearby Boston College in record time (under 2 weeks), that included a $50 million investment in a new Pine Manor Institute at BC to carry on the College’s mission of serving high-need students. He shares the lessons from this experience for other colleges and universities considering strategic partnerships.
David Finegold is the president of Chatham University.