Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, became the 13th president and CEO of St. Ambrose University on August 6, 2007. In the Quad Cities she is currently a member of the Quad Cities First Economic Development Board, the Putnam Museum Board of Trustees, and a commissioner for the Davenport Airport Commission. She is a member of the boards of the College of St. Rose, in Albany, New York; Marymount College, near Los Angeles, Calif.; and Shaker Pointe, in Latham, New York. She also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities as a member of the committee on tax policy.
In March 2011, she received the Athena Award for Leadership given by the Women's Connection of the Quad Cities.
From 1998 to 2007, she served as president and CEO of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, 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 a professor of English at the College of St. Rose, Albany, NY from 1972 to 1991.
A native of Albany, NY, she 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, Mo., 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.
Among her personal pursuits Sister Joan enjoys organic gardening and art appreciation. She is currently pursuing a private pilot's license.