Interim President Kenneth Lemanski brings with him an 18-year career as a higher education administrator, along with extensive experience in government and the private sector. A member of the Saint Joseph’s College Board of Trustees for three years, he was until recently the vice president for advancement and university relations at Westfield State University in Westfield, Mass.
Is it a challenge to move from a large, public school to a small private one? “We all face the same financial challenges of educating as many students as possible at the lowest price to preserve access,” he says. To that end, he believes fundraising is personal, based on connecting with alumni and non-alumni who believe in what the college is doing. “However, it can’t all be done by the President,” he notes. “We all have to be ambassadors for the institution. Everything we communicate and do plays a part,” he adds.
President Lemanski grew up in a close-knit Catholic parish in Chicopee, Mass., a middle-class city near Springfield with a large ethnic population. He attended Catholic schools before graduating from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and Western New England Law School. He has been a state legislator in Massachusetts, and an administrator for the University of Massachusetts college system. He is married and has a 17-year-old daughter.
President Lemanski believes Saint Joseph’s membership in the Conference of Mercy Higher Education, a system of nine Catholic colleges linked by a common heritage, is a strength, as is its role as Maine’s only Catholic college.