Thomas Edison names Merodie Hancock president

Merodie A. Hancock will be president of Thomas Edison State University beginning March 5.

Hancock, president of the State University of New York Empire State College since 2013, was unanimously elected by the institution’s board of trustees at a special meeting Wednesday.

“Thomas Edison State University is such a respected pillar among adult-serving institutions in the United States, and has been at the forefront of offering degree pathways for busy, working adults since its inception in 1972,” Hancock said. “I hold dear this mission, and am honored to take on the presidency of such a pivotal university.”

Board Chair Brian T. Maloney said Hancock’s record of accomplishment and commitment to innovation and excellence made her an ideal choice to lead Thomas Edison.

“We are honored and excited to have Dr. Hancock as our new president. She has the experience, expertise and vision to lead Thomas Edison in today’s challenging marketplace,” said Maloney, who chaired the university’s presidential search committee. “Dr. Hancock has dedicated her distinguished career to expanding access to higher education for adults, including active military service members and veterans, and is a national leader in meeting the unique needs of nontraditional students.”

As SUNY Empire State College president, Hancock is responsible for the overall operation of the institution’s 35 locations throughout New York, the worldwide Center for Distance Learning and eight international sites, and oversees the teaching and learning of the college’s 20,000 students, as well as the employment of 1,700 faculty and staff and active engagement with 70,000 alumni.

Hancock previously served as vice president at Central Michigan University Global Campus, where she was responsible for delivering academic programs at the university’s remote campuses, military and community college locations and online programs.

George A. Pruitt, Thomas Edison’s president for 35 years, praised the board’s selection.

“I am delighted that Merodie Hancock will be the next president of our university,” Pruitt said. “She is a tested executive, an experienced educator and a visionary leader who has spent her career in our academic space and understands how technology can remove barriers in higher education to meet the needs of adults. Her passion for serving members of our military and veterans will also serve the Thomas Edison State University community well.”

The university’s presidential search began shortly after Pruitt announced his plans to step down from the office in June. The university formed a presidential search committee and conducted an extensive national search that attracted many qualified candidates.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to our committee members who did a tremendous job conducting this search,” Maloney said. “This work has culminated with an extraordinary new leader for Thomas Edison State University.”

Hancock holds a Ph.D. in urban services and education administration from Old Dominion University, an MBA from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Scripps College

“I offer my thanks to President Pruitt for his years of service and leadership of TESU and to the board of trustees, whose passion for the university and its mission is so apparent,” Hancock said.  “I look forward to joining the Thomas Edison team as we build on a great foundation, continuing to serve the adult student with innovation and excellence.”