Home > PUM Women's History Salutes: Suzanne K. Mellon, PHD - Tenth President of Carlow University

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PUM Women's History Salutes: Suzanne K. Mellon, PHD - Tenth President of Carlow University

"There is still a minority of women leaders of universities throughout our country, despite the fact that there are more women attending college now.  However, I do see much hope and opportunity ahead. Often the most difficult position to be in is the first of anything, but once that ceiling is broken, it becomes easier for succeeding generations to advance." Suzanne K. Mellon  

Suzanne Mellon, PhD, the tenth president of Carlow University, has outstanding experience in all facets of higher education administration and proven knowledge of the major issues facing higher education. She is a visionary leader whose creative outlook has helped to strengthen Carlow and inspire others.  Dr. Mellon has a strong track record in strategic planning, academic program development, and community collaboration. 

Dr. Mellon, who also is well versed in Catholic higher education and the mission of the Sisters of Mercy, was serving as the executive vice president of St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, when the Carlow University Board of Trustees selected her to be the next president.  At St. Anselm, she was the chief operating officer and second in command, with responsibility for all areas of the college.

Prior to St. Anselm, Dr. Mellon held a distinguished series of faculty and administrative positions, first at Wayne State University and then the University of Detroit Mercy, which saw significant growth in enrollment and programmatic offerings while Dr. Mellon was dean of its College of Health Professions and McAuley School of Nursing.

A native of Michigan, Dr. Mellon graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan with a BSN in nursing, a master's degree from the Ohio State University, and a PhD in philosophy from Wayne State University. She is a graduate of the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As president of Carlow, Mellon holds the academic rank of Professor.

She is a leader in higher education, where her influence spans multiple arenas. She was an accreditation evaluator for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. She previously served as an evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and as a consultant for the Ohio Board of Regents. Her scholarship has resulted in published articles in national journals and invitations to present at national and international conferences on a variety of health topics, including cancer survivorship and the risk for inherited breast/ovarian cancer.

She is the recipient of numerous professional, leadership and service awards and honors in both the health care and higher education arenas.

Her community and professional activities have included practice as a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist in several community organizations, service to the underserved in the community, higher education consultation, and service on the board of trustees of numerous non-profit health care and educational organizations.

PUM One on One with  Suzanne K. Mellon, PHD - Tenth President Carlow University

PUM: Celebrating Women's History Month what does that mean for you in terms of what you have been able to accomplish in your career?

Dr. Mellon: I think no one gets to the pinnacle of their career on their own.  We all have mentors or role models we look to or pattern ourselves after who assist us in advancing in our careers.   I have had both female and male mentors and role models who have encouraged me throughout my career. That’s what Women’s History Month means to me:  I’m walking in the footsteps of so many others, including many women who have accomplished great things, and even as I’m following them, I’m also able to open opportunities for the next group of women to follow.

PUM: In your position as one of the few women Presidents of a major university, do you feel we will see more women ascend to these key roles in higher education in the future? 

 Dr. Mellon: Yes, I hope so.  There is still a minority of women leaders of universities throughout our country, despite the fact that there are more women attending college now.  However, I do see much hope and opportunity ahead. Often the most difficult position to be in is the first of anything, but once that ceiling is broken, it becomes easier for succeeding generations to advance. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

PUM:  What is your advice and recommendations to women as they break through the glass ceilings in their careers? How were you able to persevere?

Dr. Mellon: When I was an undergraduate student, my aspiration wasn’t to be a university president.  You don’t necessarily have a complete game plan for your career when you first start out. However, you need to be open to the opportunities that present themselves to you along the way and the willingness and courage to persevere and address whatever challenges you have before you – and the opportunities that present to make a difference.  That’s the best advice I have to offer – be open to the potential opportunities and reframing challenges as they present themselves to you. Don’t be afraid to say “I can do that,” or “I think I have something to contribute in this area.”  Reach out to others to seek their advice and opinions when you are faced with career challenges.  If you can do that, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

PUM:  Balancing career and home life, what has worked for you on your path to success?

Dr. Mellon:  It is important to strike a balance between career and family.  If you can’t find that balance, you’ll discover you’re not giving either one their proper attention. Every part of your life is important and contributes to who you are as a leader. Keeping a balance and ability to enjoy all aspects of your life are important – and also what contributes to your personal and professional success.  I have four children and they were and are always a priority for me. I had a very supportive spouse who was a true partner in supporting my career advancement.  I’m from Michigan originally, but I have lived in New England and now Pittsburgh and my children are now all in different states.  So, now we  are very intentional about planning time together – at different times throughout the year in addition to holidays.   

PUM: What are you most proud of as a Woman who inspires other women every day?

Dr. Mellon: Being in higher education and the role modeling that occurs every day with students and faculty and staff who look to the President, I am most conscious, of my attention and focus on listening to others and approaching issues from a collaborative perspective. I am happy when I see others who are empowered and supported to make differences and lead others. I’ve been fortunate to have had excellent role models and mentors throughout my career, and I feel a sense of joy when I hear of students, faculty, and others who have made a real difference in the lives they are impacting and have appreciated my support and mentoring of them in their lives.   

 

 

 

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