Washington Business Journal: Marymount University names new president

Irma Becerra will be the seventh president of Marymount University, replacing Matthew Shank after he announced in November he would step down.

Becerra, who will assume the role July 1 at the Arlington university, has been provost and chief academic officer at St. Thomas University, a Catholic university in Miami. Before that, she was a tenured professor in management information systems at Florida International University and served as its vice provost and director of its Entrepreneurship Center. Becerra has also written four books on management and business intelligence.

At St. Thomas University, Becerra launched new degree programs in nursing and cybersecurity, among others, and expanded its online offerings.

Becerra was born in Cuba, and her parents immigrated to the United States when she was still an infant. She lived in Puerto Rico through high school.

She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Miami and became the first woman to earn a doctorate in engineering from Florida International University.

Shank, who joined the university in 2011, had in recent years launched an ambitious $40 million capital campaign, opened its Ballston Center near the Metro station there, expanded its academics and formed a new NCAA athletic conference, the Atlantic East Conference, with six other universities with competition set to begin this fall. Shank had served as chair of the Atlantic East President’s Council.

In a memo to Marymount staff that ArlNow reported last fall, Shank said he had the option of taking a year’s leave and then joining the faculty as a marketing professor in the university’s School of Business Administration in the fall of 2019.

Becerra will take on relatively stable enrollment at the university, at 3,375 last year, up from 3,340 the previous year, but down slightly from 3,486 in 2013, according to Washington Business Journal research.

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