Mitchell College Welcomes New President, Elects New Chair of Board of Trustees

Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, president, Mitchell College

Rick D’Avino, chair, Mitchell College Board of Trustees

Two changes in executive level leadership at Mitchell College took place on July 1. Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, who recently moved to New London, began her tenure as the college’s eighth president, and Rick D’Avino started his first term as the elected chair of the college’s Board of Trustees.

Espy, an accomplished college administrator, expert in human development and family therapy and the first African-American woman to lead Mitchell, most recently served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.

D’Avino works as a managing director and chairman of Insourced Solutions for Tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers and as a lecturer at Columbia Law School. He also serves on the Penn Law Board of Overseers, is the chair of the Board of Directors of Stamford Academy, and is vice president of National Sawdust, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that provides state of the art facilities and support to a wide range of composers, musicians, and artists.

Drawn to Mitchell for its supportive liberal arts environment, grounded in the Mitchell Ability Model, Espy has a passion for and deep experience with service learning – connecting students and the larger community for the mutual benefit of one another. With a strong commitment to social justice, she looks forward to exploring ways to expand Mitchell’s learning opportunities to reflect these values.

“There couldn’t be a better time than now to take on the role of leading Mitchell College and Thames at Mitchell, our pre-college transition program for students with learning differences. We all know that we are living through historic times. Our young people are being shaped by the world’s events, and they will create the world of tomorrow with the lessons they learn today. The Mitchell Ability Model teaches students to be adaptable and responsive to change, in whatever comes their way, whether in a first job or on life’s journey. Mastery of key skills, such as critical thinking, communication and valuing other perspectives – of learning how to listen and respond – will equip our students to make a positive impact in the world,” Espy said.

As Mitchell College president, Espy plans to further develop partnerships with as many local and regional organizations as she can, giving Mitchell students numerous opportunities to discover their passions, while developing a commitment to service.

“As a newcomer to New London, I have already begun exploring all that Southeastern Connecticut has to offer. I am taken with the electric nature of the community, the historic waterfront of the city, and the beauty of the shoreline. There is an abundance of opportunity for our students packed into a relatively small area, and I am thrilled to facilitate these relationships. Right on our own campus, Michael’s Dairy serves as a year-round career lab for Mitchell student interns studying business and hospitality, giving them the opportunity to engage with the public. With so many sweet treats on the menu, there’s no better way for the public to reciprocate and engage with our students than by visiting the shop this summer!”

D’Avino said, “I am excited that Dr. Espy and I are beginning our Mitchell College tenures at the same time. The Board of Trustees looks forward to working closely with Tracy, as she brings deep experience and a strong academic background in family therapy and human development – along with a great deal of zeal and grace – to her position. Dr. Espy is a true visionary, with the ideal background to lead Mitchell College. We will together build on the qualities that make Mitchell unique, such as the strong foundation of support and accessibility for our students, and we will work to position the institution to grow and flourish into the future.”

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About Mitchell College
A small liberal arts college, Mitchell developed its distinct educational approach over more than 80 years, blending a tradition of mentoring with an expertise in teaching diverse learning styles to create the innovative Mitchell Ability Model. Through a journey of self-discovery, learning adaptability, four-year career development, and mastery of essential abilities, students are challenged, supported and equipped for lifelong success. Mitchell is committed to the broader community through building strong, creative and cooperative partnerships. Located on a beautiful waterfront campus in historic New London, Connecticut, it is also home to championship NCAA Division III athletics, Thames at Mitchell College, the Mystic Program, and the renowned Bentsen Learning Center.