Kelli Armstrong, a highly respected University administrator who has led Boston College’s institutional research, planning, strategic services, and space management efforts since 2004, has been named president of Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. She will step down from her position at the end of the spring semester, and assume her new role at Salve Regina beginning in June of 2019.
Armstrong will become the first lay president of the Catholic liberal arts university, which is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and enrolls 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students.
Hired in 2004 as Boston College’s first director of institutional research, Armstrong founded the Office of Institutional Research to provide an effective vehicle to inform the University’s planning and decision-making processes.
Her successes led to an increased portfolio in the areas of institutional planning and assessment that resulted in the 2007 establishment of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment, which collaborated with ITS to create a data warehouse to better inform campus managers in their planning and use of information. She subsequently assumed responsibility for Space Planning to support implementation of BC’s Institutional Master Plan and individual departments’ efforts to advance key initiatives on campus. She also oversaw Strategic Services to provide program review support for administrative departments, coordination of campus service centers, and design and implementation of strategic planning for departments and divisions.
In recognition of her accomplishments in creating one of the best planning and assessment programs in American higher education, she was named vice president for planning and assessment by University President William P. Leahy, S.J., in 2012.
Armstrong said her decision to leave BC was a difficult one, but the opportunity to assume the presidency of Salve Regina was one she could not overlook.
“I am deeply grateful to Boston College for giving me the opportunity to serve this wonderful community,” said Armstrong. “For 15 years, I have been blessed to work with extraordinarily talented faculty, staff and students, and it has been a privilege to witness the advancement and impact of our mission.”
Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead praised Armstrong for her leadership skills and diverse array of talents that helped to successfully support the University during the past decade and a half.
“I am grateful for Kelli’s commitment and leadership to the University over her many years of service,” said Lochhead. “She worked in the seams between departments and organizations to ensure that people, processes, and decisions were successful. She embodies the ideal of ‘men and women for others’ through her tireless efforts and advocacy on behalf of women and underrepresented populations at Boston College. In Kelli, Salve Regina selected a wonderful president and a first-class, caring, and committed leader whose positive energy will no doubt enliven the work of those around her. I wish her the best of luck and much success in her new presidency.”
Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley offered similar praise. “Kelli Armstrong's leadership has strengthened and elevated planning and assessment work at Boston College, and her colleagueship has been greatly valued by faculty across campus,” said Quigley. “Her work on the latest strategic planning process was essential. I wish her every success at Salve Regina.”
In addition to her administrative accomplishments, Armstrong founded the Monserrat Task Force in 2013 to support the Monserrat Coalition, which serves more than 1,400 low income BC students each year. In 2008, she and Associate Vice President of Advancement Operations and Planning Brenda Ricard founded the Women’s Collaborative, a BC networking group that sponsors speakers and volunteer activities for its more than 200 members.
She was also a noted mentor to many on the BC campus, particularly female administrators, who regularly sought her advice and counsel.
“I have always admired Kelli’s ability to bring people together to solve problems or generate new ideas,” said Ricard. “She deserves the credit for building BC's first Office of Institutional Research because, before her arrival, this work existed in pockets across the university. Her ability to think about space and the impact it has on teaching, research, student life, and student formation has been transformational. I will miss her dearly, but I am thrilled that she has a chance to fulfill her dream of becoming a college president.”
“I feel so blessed to have been able to work with Kelli during her time at Boston College,” said Jessica Greene, director of University assessment and accreditation services. “Kelli’s tireless work ethic, unwavering commitment to her colleagues and BC’s students, and her excellent judgment have enabled our institution to move forward in a multitude of areas. Kelli’s contributions to Boston College are countless, and while I will very much miss our professional work together, what has made Kelli such a trusted and valued member of the BC community has been her genuine care for us all – this combination of effective, responsive leadership and deep concern for others will undoubtedly ensure Kelli success in her new role.”
A graduate of Bates College, Armstrong earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Boston College. Prior to joining the BC administration, she worked in institutional research and enrollment management at Bates College, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts system.
“I have been transformed personally and professionally by my experience here at Boston College,” said Armstrong. “I look forward to the opportunities that await me at Salve Regina, knowing that wherever I go BC will always be in my heart.”
Jack Dunn | University Communications