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New England Accrediting Commission Announces New President

BURLINGTON, MA — The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) announced today that Lawrence M. Schall, currently president of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, would assume the role of president of the organization, effective July 20, 2020. NECHE, formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of NEASC, is the regional accrediting body for 222 institutions of higher education in the six New England states and 11 American-style institutions in other countries. The decision was made after Dr. Schall was unanimously recommended by an official search committee established to identify a successor to outgoing president Dr. Barbara Brittingham.

“I am deeply honored to be chosen as the next president of NECHE. Dr. Brittingham and her staff have set a very high bar for service to the higher education community in New England and to the public. I am committed to follow in that same tradition of integrity, transparency and effective leadership,” said Dr. Schall.

“There is no doubt that these are challenging times for all colleges and universities in New England and for our students and their families. NECHE has an important role to play in ensuring that the quality of the education across the diversity of our institutions is maintained and that as an industry, we continue to focus on affordability and access. I look forward to working alongside the administrators, faculty, and staff of our member schools, as well as with governmental officials both regionally and nationally, to strengthen what is already recognized as the best-in-class system of higher education in the world.”

A key factor in Dr. Schall’s selection was his record of success at Oglethorpe University, which he has led for the past 15 years. The search committee noted his impressive tenure there, which featured an impressive turnaround at the once-struggling school. Dr. Schall has overseen the transformation of Oglethorpe from an at-risk institution to a university boasting a doubled class size, rigorous spending safeguards, and a secure financial outlook. He received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and his J.D. and Ed.D from the University of Pennsylvania.  After starting his career as an attorney in Philadelphia, he served as Vice President of Administration at Swarthmore.

Students and administrators across New England will be looking to NECHE for similar leadership as the higher education landscape grows increasingly uncertain.

David Quigley, current Chair of NECHE and Provost and Dean of Faculties at Boston College, applauded the choice. “The Commission’s rich history has been shaped by several remarkable leaders, most recently Barbara Brittingham. My colleagues and I look forward to welcoming Larry Schall to New England to build on that distinguished history and to help lead us through a particularly challenging time for higher education and for the society our institutions serve. Larry’s vision for NECHE as a national leader in accreditation is inspiring and will ensure that the interests of our students, our institutions, and our region are well served.”

Dr. Brittingham, who joined the organization in 2000, has served as its President since 2006.

“Our member colleges and universities operate in extremely challenging times, but it is the creativity, resilience, dedication to students, leadership, and the honest confrontation of difficult times that moves us forward,” Dr. Brittingham said. “I am confident that Larry will lead NECHE successfully and continue to move our mission forward with the same level of dedication to serving students and the public that we have maintained since our inception. I wish him, our wonderful volunteers, and the talented group of professionals at NECHE all the best.”

Selected Quotes about Lawrence M. Schall:

“I am delighted that Larry Schall is joining NECHE as our next President. Larry Schall brings to NECHE a wealth of experience and proven success in a variety of higher education settings. He understands the critical role of accreditation in ensuring that students are well-served by their schools and will be an effective leader of NECHE and a thoughtful voice for higher education in the challenging times ahead.” –George W. Tetler, Attorney, Bowditch and Dewey and Chair Elect of the Commission

“Larry Schall brings extensive experience in post-secondary education and in facilitating consortial relationship among institutions. His prior exposure to different types of institutions that make up NECHE will allow him to get a quick start as President of NECHE. His particular expertise in college finances is a major asset at this time as NECHE members face very serious fiscal challenges. I am confident he will maintain the public trust in NECHE that outgoing President Brittingham established during her tenure.” – Kumble Subbuswamy, PhD, Chancellor of UMass Amherst

“Larry’s extraordinary talent for monitoring and reinforcing excellence in higher education, his sincerest concern for creating the most positive conditions for learning, working, and caring among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees, and his keen recognition, anchored in broad experience and imaginative thought, as to directions higher education must take to serve a world of ever more challenging complexity, divisiveness and social responsibility make him a consummate choice for this position of essential national leadership.” – Al Bloom, former President of Swarthmore College, founding Vice Chancellor of NYU-Abu Dhabi

“In these important and demanding times for colleges and universities, I am delighted that NECHE has appointed such an experienced and accomplished university leader as President Larry Schall to move accreditation forward in support of institutional excellence, access and innovation.” – David Angel, President of Clark University and former NECHE Chair

“The Commission looks forward to the deep experience of Dr. Schall to guide us during this moment of transformation in Higher Education in New England and across the nation. His scholarly work lends perspective to the unique nature of institutions of every size, public and private. We value his broad vision as we enter a new era of higher education in the coming days.” – Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College

“During these extraordinary times for our society, Dr. Schall brings bold, imaginative, transformational leadership to guide the members of NECHE to achieve the highest quality of education aligned with the mission of their institutions. His focus is on the importance of the shared responsibility between educators and policy makers to ensure the best experiences for students.” – Pat Maguire Meservey, President Emerita at Salem State University


The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly operating as the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of NEASC, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a reliable authority as to the quality of education. The Commission accredits 222 degree-granting institutions in the six New England states and eleven American-style institutions in other countries.


Media Contact: Don Martelli 617-413-6773

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