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Margaret A. McKenna

2017 Speaker

MARGARET A. McKENNA is a lawyer and educator, and is a leading expert in educational opportunity, civic engagement and philanthropy. She is President Emerita of Lesley University and a professor of the practice, Tufts University. Mckenna served as president of Suffolk University from June 2015 to July 2016. While there, McKenna was involved in a well-chronicled dispute with the board of trustees over issues of governance. The university had had six presidents in seven 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.  She had previously served as Deputy Secretary of U.S. Department of Education and deputy White House Counsel. McKenna has served on five corporate boards and serves on a number of non -profit boards, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, National Summer Learning Association, and Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. She led education transition teams for Pres. Clinton and for the mayor of Boston, and has served on national and state commissions and task forces. The recipient of 10 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, City Year and the Boston Chamber of Commerce.