JANET GORMAN McCARTHY, the ninth president of Lyndon State College, passed away on May 15 at her home in South Dennis, Mass., with her family by her side. She was 76 years old. McCarthy – – who the Lyndon community will recognize as Murphy – – was president from 1977 to 1983.
Highlights of her many accomplishments include the establishment of the LINC Project and the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, which we know today as News7 and the Electronic Journalism Arts program. New 4-year programs in business and computer science were introduced. She brought many of her well-connected friends to campus, including JFK aide and confidant Dave Powers, Boston Celtics stars Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn, U.S. Secretary of Education Shirley Hofstadter, and Dr. Max Lerner.
As president, McCarthy well understood the importance of cultivating the Vermont legislature and became the unofficial spokesperson for the entire VSC at the statehouse, where she became a powerful force. She proved to be very effective (and prescient) in procuring funding for deferred maintenance and renovating campus buildings for energy efficiency. The College’s Emergency Services Building was another fruit of that labor.
Dr. McCarthy did much to connect the community and the region of the Northeast Kingdom to the College. During her tenure the LSC Foundation was founded as was the Northeastern Vermont Industrial Education Council. The annual Stars & Stripes Pageant, organized with the enthusiastic help of the people of Lyndonville, is another legacy.
She will be remembered for her vibrant and commanding personality and her quick wit. She was a born leader and, always thoughtful of all employees, often sent notes of thanks for a good performance of assignments or personal accomplishments.
President McCarthy left LSC in 1983 to become president of Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, Missouri, becoming the first woman to head a 4-year college in that state’s history. She served there for 17 years before retiring to Cape Cod.
Dr. McCarthy was a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received her M.Ed. from Boston University, and Ed.D. and Honorary Doctorate of Law from UMass/Amherst. During her retirement years, she served as the chair of the UMass Cape Cod Alumni Scholarship Fund and enjoyed travel and time spent with friends and family. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. James McCarthy.
Memorial contributions may be made to the UMass Cape Cod Alumni Scholarship Fund and mailed to 155 Gilbert Lane, Harwich Port, MA 02646, or to the Edwin D. Gorman Public Service Internship and mailed to the Missouri Western State University Foundation at 4525 Down Drive, St. Joseph, MO, 64507.
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