Price, Glenda 1939–
Glenda Price 1939–
Named president of Detroit’s Marygrove College in 1998, Glenda Price made her mark on the small Catholic institution almost immediately. Harrison Blackmond, a member of the school’s board of trustees, remarked to the Detroit Free Press that Price “has brought a new level of excitement to this campus. She has this can-do spirit.” That spirit had already provided the underpinnings for a distinguished academic career, and promised great things for an urban university whose sense of mission had been renewed by Price’s leadership.
Glenda Dolores Price was born in York, Pennsylvania, on October 10, 1939, and grew up in nearby Harrisburg. She graduated from Temple University with a bachelor of science degree in 1961, and earned master of education and Ph.D. degrees from the same institution, in 1969 and 1979 respectively. Price’s progress toward her graduate degrees took some time because she had worked to support herself all through her educational career—an experience that later would help her relate to Marygrove’s student body, comprised largely of older individuals who juggled multiple commitments. “She … worked her way through college, she returned to graduate school after working and she worked and earned graduate degrees,” colleague Freddye Hill told the Detroit Free Press when Price moved to Marygrove from Spelman College. “I think she will say to the Marygrove women, It’s possible!’”
Price’s field of study was medical technology and, after receiving her master’s degree at Temple, she worked there for ten years as a professor of clinical laboratory science. Her master’s and doctoral degrees were in education, and her dual background in science and education made her a natural for an administrative career. After finishing her doctorate Price was named assistant dean at Temple’s College of Allied Health, remaining there until 1986. Her career continued its upward track when she became dean of the School of Allied Health Professions at the University of Connecticut and served in that post for six years. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Price remained actively involved in her field. She authored or co-authored over twenty articles in academic publications, served as president of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and received many professional awards.
In 1992 Price was named provost at Spelman College in Atlanta, an all-female school and an institution with elite status among the ranks of America’s historically black colleges. She served as Spelman’s top administrative officer, managed the day-to-day affairs of the school, and gained key national contacts by joining the board of a health professions commission established by the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. Price also played a critical role in Spelman’s successful $114 million fundraising drive. The amount raised was the largest in the college’s history and was remarkable in an era when many similar schools were facing difficult financial straits.
Price’s fund-raising prowess attracted the attention of the
Born October 10, 1939, in York, Pennsylvania; raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Education: Temple University, B.S., 1961, M, Ed., 1969, and Ph.D., 1979; graduated from the Harvard University Management Program. Religion: Baptist.
Career: Professor of clinical laboratory science, Temple University, 1969–79; assistant dean, College of Allied Health, Temple University, 1979–86; dean, College of Allied Health Professions, University of Connecticut, 1986–92; provost, Spelman College, 1992–97; president, Marygrove College, Detroit, 1998-;. author of numerous scholarly articles.
Awards: Pennsylvania Society for Medical Technology, Member of the Year, 1979; SUNY-Buffalo Warren Perry Allied Health Leadership Award, 1982; Temple University Alumni Fellow, 1992; University of Connecticut Medallion Award, 1992.
Addresses: Office —Marygrove College, 8425 W. McNichols, Detroit, MI 48221.
board of trustees at Marygrove College in Detroit, a Catholic liberal-arts school with about 1, 000 undergraduates. Enrollment at the college had traditionally consisted of affluent, white Catholic women. The school became coeducational during the 1970s and, by the 1990s, the student body closely reflected Detroit’s predominantly African American population. Unanimously selected by Marygrove’s board, Price assumed the office of president in July of 1998, and was inaugurated the following April. She became the first African American and the first non-Catholic to hold the position of Marygrove president.
Within two weeks of taking office, Price established a program called Marygrove Griots (the word, pronounced Gree-oh, is a West African one meaning a respected storyteller). The program was designed to increase the number of African American males entering the teaching profession. “We recognize that there is a tremendous need to increase the number of men [in teaching] because there are too few mentors for young men particularly, as well as for young women in public education,” Price told the Detroit News. Valuing the college’s small-school, liberal-arts heritage, Price made plans to reopen its sole residence hall, reinstate a quaint tradition of Sunday teas, and attract students from beyond the Detroit area. At the same time, she clearly stated that she planned to fulfill Marygrove’s commitment to an urban mission and expressed a desire to enter into new relationship with Detroit civic leaders, businesses, and social groups.
The Detroit Public Schools had long been plagued by a variety of problems. In 1999 Michigan’s Republican governor, John Engler, took action to remove the city’s elected school board from office. He asked Detroit mayor Dennis Archer to name a replacement “reform” board, and Price was one of the nine members selected. Archer remarked in the Detroit Free Press of the “settling effect that she [Price] can bring to the school board.” The new board met with considerable resistance and its meetings were disrupted by protesters. Price, who offered the Marygrove campus as a sanctuary for the board’s meetings, was puzzled by the intensity of the anger she had encountered. “As a relative newcomer to Detroit,” she wrote in the Detroit Free Press, “I cannot state with any certainty that I understand the political dynamics surrounding the Detroit public schools controversy.” She went on to criticize those who launched rhetorical attacks on the reform board, “because they divert time and energy away from solving problems.”
As the twenty-first century approached, Price seemed to be emerging as an educational leader in her adopted city of Detroit. She appeared to have won a place in the hearts of Marygrove students and served as an effective role model. “I want to be just like her,” a Marygrove student told the Free Press. “I adore her.” In addition to her career as an educational administrator, Price enjoyed reading, gourmet cooking, and international travel.
Detroit Free Press, February 3, 1998, p. IB; July 9, 1998, p. 1B; February 27, 1999; April 14, 1999.
Detroit News, February 3, 1998, p. D1; February 12, 1998, p. C1; July 15, 1998, p. S3; April 7, 1999, p. S4; April 18, 1999, p. C1; April 23, 1999, p. C6.
Additional information for this profile was provided by the Office of the Director of Communications, Marygrove College, Detroit.
—James M. Manheim
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