CSB president to receive Bicentennial Medal Sept. 16 from Williams College

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August 15, 2017

Mary Dana HintonCollege of Saint Benedict President Dr. Mary Dana Hinton will receive a Bicentennial Medal from Williams College on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Hinton is a 1992 graduate of Williams, located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The medal will be presented during the school’s Convocation ceremony in Chapin Hall. There will also be a reception and dinner on Friday, Sept. 15, at Mount Hope Farm, Bristol, Rhode Island.

Williams established its Bicentennial Medals program on the occasion of its 200th anniversary in 1993. The Executive Committee of the Society of Alumni and Williams President Adam Falk select five recipients each year to be honored for distinguished achievement in any field.

Hinton is being recognized for “her passion for educational equity” which is “reflected in her commitment to ensuring underrepresented students have access to a liberal arts education.”

Since becoming the 15th president of CSB on July 1, 2014, Hinton has overseen an increase in underrepresented and first-generation students attending CSB. A first-generation college student is defined as someone whose parents do not have a four-year college degree. 

During the 2016-17 academic year, 569 CSB students – about 27 percent of the student body – were first-generation college students. That group is made up of nearly 40 percent American students of color.

Under Hinton’s leadership, a number of initiatives have begun to recruit and retain first-generation and underrepresented students. They include:

  • In fall 2016, she created an Inclusion Ecosystem. Hinton’s efforts are designed to support diversity along multiple dimensions, including racial and ethnic, economic, geographic, religious, ability, perspective and thought.
  • In July 2015, CSB was awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help humanities faculty successfully teach, advise and engage an increasingly diverse student body.
  • Securing gifts in 2016 and 2017 from the Medtronic Foundation to support first generation and underrepresented students.
  • Attaining the largest gift in the history of the college, $10 million, to help young women develop ethical leadership skills and ensure women with limited financial support are able to participate in experiential learning opportunities.

Hinton received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Williams. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and a Ph.D. in religion and religious education with high honors from Fordham University, New York.

Prior to coming to CSB, Hinton served as the vice president for academic affairs at Mount Saint Mary College, a Dominican college in Newburgh, New York.

Hinton is the author of "The Commercial Church: Black Churches and the New Religious Marketplace in America." Her scholarship focuses on African-American religious history, religious education and leadership, strategic planning, assessment and diversity in the academy.

She was recently named chair of the Minnesota Private College Council Board of Presidents, an organization of 17 private colleges. Hinton also serves as a board member for the Women's College Coalition; the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation; Minnesota Campus Compact; the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities; and the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.