Like M. Carey Thomas, Mary Patterson McPherson was elected president while serving as the college's dean. Like Park and McBride, she was a Bryn Mawr alumna. Armed with a Ph.D. in philosophy and significant experience as an administrator, McPherson took office at a time of national economic turbulence and double-digit inflation. When McPherson stepped down from the presidency, she had led two successful capital campaigns, balanced the budget, instituted a program of long term planning, and overseen the creation of two new libraries. At the time of McPherson's retirement, Hanna Holborn Gray '50, then chairman of the board of trustees, remarked, "Pat's unwavering dedication to rigorous standards of intelligent thinking and constructive debate, combined with her humor and zestful delight in the variety and range of the human comedy, have communicated to all of us both her seriousness and her joy in enabling and enhancing the qualities that lie at the heart of our college."