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June 28, 2007


President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson
to Lead American Philosophical Society

Bryn Mawr President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. '69, will be the next leader of American Philosophical Society, the APS has announced.

McPherson will take the reins of the nation's oldest learned society on July 1 from another Bryn Mawr alumna and former administrator: the current co-executive officer is Mary Maples Dunn, M.A. '56, Ph.D. '59, who was Bryn Mawr's dean before she became the president of Smith College. Dunn, who served as the interim director of the Radcliffe Institute before passing the lantern to Drew Gilpin Faust '68 (who will become president of Harvard University on July 1), has shared the leadership of the APS with her husband, fellow historian Richard S. Dunn.

McPherson was vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and its program officer for the liberal arts colleges from 1997 through March 2007. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served nineteen years as the sixth president of Bryn Mawr. She is widely credited with renewing and revitalizing Bryn Mawr and enhancing its stature during a time when the role of women's colleges was being challenged. She had also been dean of the undergraduate college, deputy to the president, and associate professor of philosophy from 1970 to 1978. Between 1964 and 1970 she was assistant dean, then associate dean of the College at Bryn Mawr. She received her A.B. from Smith College, an M.A. from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. McPherson holds numerous honorary degrees.

Complementing her academic and administrative services, McPherson has served on a variety of boards, currently including the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, JSTOR, the Philadelphia Contributionship, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions. Her prominence in the fields of education and public policy has also led her to serve on the boards of the Agnes Irwin School, Exeter Academy, Shipley School, Amherst College, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Brookings Institution, the Spencer Foundation, Bank Street College and the National Humanities Center. She is presently chair of the board of trustees at her undergraduate alma mater, Smith College.

Elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1983, McPherson has been an active participant in its affairs and a strong supporter of its programs, and served as a vice president for six years. She was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993.

The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of "promoting useful knowledge." In the 21st century, the organization honors and engages leading scholars, scientists and professionals through elected membership and opportunities for interdisciplinary, intellectual fellowship. It supports research, discovery and education through grants and fellowships, lectures, publications, prizes and exhibitions, and maintains a research library of manuscripts and other collections internationally recognized for their enduring historic value.

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