Westfield State University Board of Trustees votes to appoint Dr. Linda Thompson as 21st president

Westfield State University Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Queenin ’70 announced that the Board has selected higher education and public policy leader Linda Thompson, DrPH, to serve as the University’s 21st president. Pending Board of Higher Education approval, Thompson is slated to begin her presidency this summer. 

“Based on Dr. Thompson’s credentials and wealth of experience in influential leadership and collaboration, paired with her highly engaging campus visit with Westfield State’s varied constituents, the Board voted to recommend her as the University’s next leader,” said Queenin. The Board’s vote is now subject to the approval of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.  

Thompson has served as dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts Boston since 2017 and previously held a similar position at West Chester University (Pa.). At both institutions, she developed and implemented a comprehensive five-year strategic plan to increase enrollment, expand partnerships and academic programs, secure funding, and increase diversity among students and faculty.

She has taught nursing and public health throughout her career at 10 different colleges and universities. Her administrative experience includes appointments as provost and vice-chancellor at North Carolina A&T State University, dean of nursing at Oakland University (Mich.), and associate dean at University of Maryland School of Nursing. 

Her extensive experience in public service includes serving as director of Occupational Medicine and Safety in Baltimore, where she developed programs and policies to promote the health of the city’s workforce. At the state level, she served as special secretary for Children, Youth, and Families in Maryland. There, she developed programs and policies to improve the quality of care for vulnerable populations of children. Many of these programs have been duplicated through her advisory and consulting roles in Brazil, China, India, Korea, and the Caribbean. She was the chief policy advisor to the governor of Maryland on all children and youth matters, managing an interagency budget of over $350 million. 

Thompson has published more than 100 articles, books, book chapters, and abstracts. Two books have been recognized: Losing control: Loving a Black Child with Bipolar Disorder by the American Sociologic Association; and Hard Times, Healing Hands by EdPress. She has received numerous awards, including induction into the American Academy of Nursing, Phi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Xi, and was an invited participant in the White House Conference on Childcare and as the White House Delegate to Brazil. 

She earned both BSN and MSN degrees at Wayne State University (Mich.) and master's and doctoral degrees in public health from The Johns Hopkins University. 

“In addition to looking forward to welcoming Dr. Thompson as Westfield State’s next leader, I offer sincere thanks to the hardworking and thoughtful members of the Presidential Search Committee for their invaluable role in this important selection process,” said Robert Martin, Ph.D., Westfield State University Trustee and chair of the Presidential Search Committee. 

Thompson will succeed Interim President Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D., who has led Westfield State through the 2020–2021 academic year.