The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece about Pine Manor College, the Massachusetts women’s college that’s lately been working hard to provide higher education to poor and minority women. As Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, writes:

The young women at Pine Manor College, located on a bucolic campus on the outskirts of Boston, call Nemerowicz by her first name – something she encourages even though she’s president of the college. Long a haven for privileged white women, under her leadership Pine Manor has been transformed into one of the nation’s most diverse liberal arts colleges.

Students hail from Haiti and Maine, Boston and Mexico. Their SAT scores and grades are usually just average, and more than 60 percent qualify for low-income federal Pell Grants. But at Pine Manor, and dozens of small colleges like it around the country, students are supported and valued for the life experiences they bring to the classroom.

Gloria Nemerowicz (above), the president of the college, understands how hard it can be for working women to attend college. Nemerowicz worked at meat market and a bakery, as well as for a dry cleaner, to support herself while she earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

It appears to be this background that led her to transform her school.

There were two important parts to Nemerowicz’s leadership: 1) Make the school cheap (tuition at Pine Manor is $21,000 a year, but the school apparently offers generous financial aid) and 2) Support student progress until they each get degrees (according to the article, “each student is aided by a team of faculty members, student-life staff, and even a financial adviser”).

Nemerowicz plans to retire at the end of the academic year. One wonders what sort of person the school can find to replace her. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer