Pauly, who has led the university since July 2006, announced her retirement Tuesday in an email to Salem alumnae, faculty, staff and students.
“One of the greatest honors of my life has been serving Salem Academy and College,” Pauly said in the email. “During these nearly eight years, much has been accomplished for our remarkable institution, thanks to your dedication, commitment, generosity and passion for Salem’s mission.”
During her tenure, she wrote, Salem Academy and College has grown stronger financially, acquired land around the campus’ perimeter for future expansion and experienced growth in the student population.
Salem College, a four-year liberal-arts school for women, has an enrollment of 1,100 students, including men who are 23 and older who take undergraduate courses at the Fleet Center for Adult Education. However, only female students are allowed to live on campus, according to the school’s website.
“Perhaps most importantly, we have remained true to our historic mission and values while expanding in ways that reflect new opportunities available to our graduates in the 21st century,” Pauly said.
Pauly is the 19th president of Salem Academy and College, the oldest educational institution for women in the nation.
Salem’s board of trustees soon will begin a presidential search process, which will include input from Salem’s faculty, staff, students and alumnae, the college said in a news release.
Charles Blixt, the chairman of the Salem trustees, said that news of Pauly’s pending retirement saddened him.
“She has been a wonderful leader for the institution,” Blixt said Tuesday night. “She’s at a stage in her life and career where it makes perfect sense for her to do it.”
Blixt pointed to the growing student enrollment and the college’s financial stability as highlights of Pauly’s tenure. Under her leadership, Salem is building a student center in middle of its campus. The building should be completed next spring, Blixt said.
“It is a campus that is vibrant, and that is a testament to her leadership,” Blixt said.
Pauly also led the college when the issue of a transgender student was hotly debated and discussed earlier this year among students, faculty and alumnae.
The trustees discussed that issue at length, but decided not to develop a policy on transgender students. However, the trustees reaffirmed Salem’s mission that “it values all students as individuals,” Blixt said. “Susan led us through that as she has on other issues throughout out her tenure.”