Cabrini University names Helen Drinan interim president

By Matthew Rutherford
May 6, 2022

Graphic by Sydnee Reddy.
Graphic by Sydnee Reddy.

In a late afternoon email sent May 6, Amy Lambert, chair of the board of trustees, announced that Helen Drinan, MBA, will takeover as interim president of the university.

Drinan will begin her position on May 23, the day after the university’s 2022 Commencement.

Helen Drinan. Photo from Simmons University.

She comes from Simmons University, which is a school located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a nationally ranked women’s college with 1,500 employees. Before she retired, Drinan served as president there for 12 years, from 2008-2020.

While at Simmons, Drinan achieved many accomplishments, a couple of which are similar to outgoing President Donald Taylor’s. As president, Simmons achieved university status, simplified its academic structure to enhance interdisciplinary study under four colleges, welcomed the school’s two largest freshman classes in its history and reconfigured its undergraduate curriculum around leadership development. The appointment is temporary, as Cabrini policy limits the interim candidate from being elevated to the presidency.

Drinan has previously served in positions such as executive vice president of human resources for BankBoston, senior vice president of human resources at Caritas Christi Health Care and president and CEO of the Society of Human Resources Management, which is the largest human resource professional organization in the world.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Cabrini University while we search for the next president, and my husband David and I, along with our dog Kipper, are delighted to join the university’s vibrant residential community,” Drinan said in the announcement.

Drinan was selected by the interim president selection committee, which is headed by board of trustees member Eric Tidwell (’96). Dr. Paul Wright, faculty assembly chair, also served on the committee.

“As Cabrini is facing financial challenges similar to those faced by small liberal arts institutions across the country, Helen’s gifts as a fiscally-minded administrator are nicely complemented by her authentic commitment to liberal arts education in mission-focused schools like ours. Helen will bring a responsive and yet decisive leadership style to campus,” Wright said. “It is a rare thing for a committee like ours and for other stakeholder feedback to be so unanimous in preferring one candidate for such a role, but Helen was our clear choice.”

There will be more to come as this is a breaking news story.

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Matthew Rutherford

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