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Intriguing Women-Led Nonprofits: Franklin Pierce University

Published Wednesday Nov 28, 2018

Author Melanie Plenda

For the past seven years, Business NH Magazine has shined a light on women leaders in NH to demonstrate the economic influence of this sector of the economy. We have profiled six intriguing leaders from this year’s lists who are chosen for the fast growth of their organization, the influence they wield or the significant achievements of their companies. Here is one of the profiles:


Kim Mooney has been a Franklin Pierce University “Raven” in one way or another for the past 39 years, whether it was as a student studying psychology and English in the late ’70s or serving on the alumni board, or as a trustee, or as a provost, or now as both its first woman and first alumna to serve as president. Her years spent at Franklin Pierce University have informed her perspective and policy decisions she makes today.

Mooney, who is in her third year as the sixth president of the university in Rindge (it also has a Manchester campus), graduated from the school in 1983 and went on to earn her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of NH in Durham. Right after graduation, she took a job as a psychology professor at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, a position she held for 20 years, and took on academic administrative roles, such as associate dean. That said, she never fully left Rindge behind.

Around 2001 she joined the alumni association board of directors for Franklin Pierce University, then a year later, its board of trustees, serving as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee from 2001 to 2008. She was asked in 2008 to serve as provost for an interim year, but ended up becoming provost for the next eight years before being named president in 2016.

As provost, she says that she was most proud of working with the administration and faculty to bring new programs to life. She says students want to leave college prepared for their career ahead. Mooney helped introduce the Health Sciences major in 2012, which immediately became one of the university’s most popular majors. It remains so with almost a third of incoming freshman intending to pursue that course of study.

Taking the reins as president, she says she still has her eye on programming. Specifically she wants to make sure that the university has an appropriate mix of academic and degree programs that will interest students and maintain a contemporary curriculum. At the same time, she’s focused on building the financial foundation of the university and moving it toward a sustainable future.

“The work of the president is making sure the institution is strong and sound,” Mooney says. “We keep coming out each year with operational surpluses, and we’ve done that—multimillion dollar operational surpluses—while still investing in the student experience.”
By the end of fiscal year 2019, the university is projecting a total endowment figure that will be double its starting point in 2016, Mooney says. “This accomplishment would not be possible without the support of the entire university community,” she says.

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