Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, became the 13th President of St. Ambrose University in August 2007. In the Quad Cities, she is currently a member of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Putnam Museum Board of Trustees. In March 2011 she received the Athena Award for leadership given by the Women's Connection of the Quad Cities.
From 1998 to 2007, Sister Joan served as president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), the oldest Catholic liberal arts women's college in the country. During those years she led the college to record gains in enrollment, facilitated the development of institutional strategic and master plans, and introduced several undergraduate and two new graduate academic programs.
Among the positions Sister Joan held prior to assuming the SMWC presidency were vice president for academic affairs and dean at Fontbonne University, St. Louis, Mo., from 1993 to 1998; associate dean of academic affairs at Avila University, Kansas City, Mo., from 1991 to 1993; and professor of English at the College of St. Rose, Albany, NY from 1972 to 1991.
A native of Albany, New York, Sister Joan earned a doctorate in English literature from Brown University in 1981. She received her master's and bachelor's degrees in English literature from the College of Saint Rose in 1974 and 1970. Sister Joan holds certificates in Fund Raising Management and Educational Management from Indiana and Harvard Universities, respectively. She has been a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis, Missouri, since 1965.
Sister Joan is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Council of Independent Colleges Presidents' Association, the Midwest Modern Language Association, and the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life. She has presented and published numerous papers and articles; has been an invited participant at the Oxford Roundtable and engaged in several consultations sponsored by the PEW Charitable Trusts; and currently serves on the board of trustees of the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, and the board of directors for a senior living complex, Shaker Pointe, in Latham, New York. She was elected in June 2011 to be a trustee for the Board of the Higher Learning Commission, and she serves on the Tax Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). She was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in January 2015.
Among her personal pursuits Sister Joan enjoys organic gardening and art appreciation. She also enjoys flying and has flown with the Navy's Blue Angels and the aerial demonstration team, The Red Barons.