Skip to main content

AICUM Announces Rob McCarron as Next President and CEO


March 10, 2021

Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts Announces Robert McCarron as Next President and CEO

Robert McCarron, senior vice president and general counsel for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) has been selected as the next president and CEO following an extensive, open search. AICUM’s current president, Richard Doherty, will retire on May 31st, 2021 after 16 years of leading the association.

Mr. McCarron’s appointment was approved unanimously by the AICUM Board of Directors, following the recommendation of a search committee comprised of six AICUM member college and university presidents.

“With Rob McCarron serving as president and CEO, AICUM continues its legacy of strong leadership,” said Laurie A. Leshin, President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Chair of AICUM’s Board of Directors. “Private higher education plays a critical role in driving the Massachusetts economy and our diverse innovation ecosystem. AICUM serves as a key voice for our institutions locally and nationally. Rob has a deep understanding of the issues and opportunities facing private non-profit colleges and universities in Massachusetts, and his commitment to serving them is remarkable. Rob has already accomplished so much through his AICUM service, and most recently he has played an essential role, helping the state’s higher education institutions manage effectively through the COVID-19 pandemic. He is an impressive and thoughtful person, and AICUM and its affiliated institutions are fortunate to have his leadership.”

Mr. McCarron currently serves AICUM as senior vice president and general counsel, having first joined AICUM in 2006. In his current role, Mr. McCarron has led the government relations and legal activities for AICUM and worked closely with the Board to develop and implement legislative initiatives. Mr. McCarron has helped to guide AICUM’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop procedures to safely reopen campuses and create a robust COVID-19 testing program for students, faculty and staff.

“The committee was pleased with a deep and competitive pool for this position. I am grateful to the committee for devoting their valuable time and expertise to the process, which successfully concluded with Rob McCarron as the choice for the AICUM president with the experience and understanding to lead the organization into its next chapter,” said Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, Springfield College president, who chaired the search committee. “Rob’s experience and his commitment to private education in Massachusetts set him apart from the other candidates. In particular, Rob’s work with the college presidents during this unprecedented time of COVID-19, has made all the difference as we navigated new territories.”

During his tenure, Mr. McCarron has developed and maintained relationships with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, the Baker administration and leadership in the Massachusetts House and Senate. He has successfully advocated on behalf of independent colleges and universities on a host of issues impacting private, nonprofit higher education and the students they serve, including increased funding for need-based financial aid and critical research on campus and efforts to foster greater collaboration between colleges and universities and the business community that employs hundreds of thousands of AICUM graduates.

“Rob McCarron is uniquely qualified to lead our organization during this pivotal time,” said Dr. Nicholas Covino, President of William James College president and Vice-Chair of AICUM’s Board of Directors. “He has been a trusted advisor to the AICUM presidents and their staffs, a committed advocate for higher education, and someone with a demonstrated history of getting things done. Moreover, Rob’s authenticity and genuine respect for others make him the right person to represent our members and our mission.”

Mr. McCarron will begin his new role on June 1, 2021, leading the organization as it continues to assist its membership in responding to the evolving pandemic and preparing for the new academic year. Mr. McCarron is well-versed on the important role that higher education plays in the Massachusetts economy and is prepared to foster collaboration within the sector and across higher education to ensure that Massachusetts remains a top option for students to pursue educational opportunities.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been selected to serve as AICUM’s next president and CEO,” said Mr. McCarron. “I am truly excited to have this opportunity to continue working alongside college and university presidents who, through their leadership, demonstrate every day the critical role that private higher education plays in the lives of their students and in driving the research and innovation that fuels the Massachusetts economy. It is also a privilege to continue Rich Doherty’s extraordinary work for and commitment to all of the incredibly diverse institutions that make up AICUM.”

Prior to joining AICUM in 2006, Mr. McCarron served as Director of Legal Affairs for the Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means (2003-2006) and as Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts House Joint Committee on the Judiciary. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. McCarron was counsel for MetLife Auto & Home Insurance Co., and from 1994 to 1999, he was an associate at Finneran, Byrne & Drechsler, L.L.P.

Mr. McCarron received his bachelor of arts degree in business/management from Clark University (1988) and his Juris Doctor cum laude from Suffolk University Law School (1993).

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) was founded by independent college presidents and today comprises 61 degree-granting, accredited independent colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. It is the leading voice on public policy matters affecting independent colleges and universities in Massachusetts. AICUM plays a critical role in advocating for college affordability, including state and federal funding for need- based student financial aid, federal research support and addressing state and federal legislative and regulatory issues.###


March 10, 2021