leadership > board of trustees

Margaret A. McKenna, JD

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Margaret A. McKenna, JD, is President Emerita of Lesley University, a lawyer, educator, and a leading expert in educational opportunity, civic engagement and philanthropy. From 2007 to 2011, she served as President of the Walmart Foundation, the largest corporate foundation in the United States.

From 1985 to 2007, Ms. McKenna led Lesley from a small regional college to a nationally recognized university, with one of the leading teacher training programs in the country. She came to Lesley from Radcliffe College, where she served as Director of the Bunting Institute and Vice President. Prior to Radcliffe College, she served as White House Deputy Counsel and Deputy Under Secretary of Education. Ms. McKenna started her career as a civil rights lawyer in the United States Department of Justice.

Ms. McKenna held appointments as Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Visiting Professor at Harvard University, Acting Director of the Sillerman Center on Philanthropy at Brandeis University, and Professor of Practice at Tisch College at Tufts University.

Ms. McKenna serves on numerous boards, including National Summer Learning Association, Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Fenway Community Health Center. She previously served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; led education transition teams for President Clinton and for the Mayor of Boston; and participated on national and state commissions and task forces on judicial appointments, early childhood policy, hunger relief, workforce programs and social philanthropy.

Ms. McKenna received her undergraduate degree from Emmanuel College, her Juris Doctor (JD) from Southern Methodist University, and is the recipient of ten honorary degrees.