Boston Foundation Picks M. Lee Pelton as Next President

Lee Pelton on April 4, 2019 in Boston. (Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
Lee Pelton on April 4, 2019 in Boston. (Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

The Boston Foundation, one of the nation's largest community foundations with net assets of $1.3 billion, is ready to make a leadership change, choosing M. Lee Pelton to serve as its next president and CEO, effective June 1.

Pelton, the president of Emerson College, will succeed Paul Grogan, who has held the top job at the foundation for nearly 20 years and will remain in the post through the transition.

In June, Pelton was named by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh to lead the Boston Racial Equity Fund. He serves as board vice chair for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Boston Arts Academy Foundation Board, and on the boards at GBH, Facing History and Ourselves, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts and the Barr Foundation.

"Lee's experience as a strong, seasoned leader who has innovated and managed in times of change uniquely places him to lead The Boston Foundation into a new era," said J. Keith Motley, the Boston Foundation director who co-chaired the CEO search committee. "His enthusiasm for our mission, along with a skill set that readily embraces the full range of what we do, makes him a strong choice to lead The Boston Foundation as our next president."

Pelton grew up in Wichita, Kansas and graduated from Wichita State University before earning a Ph.D. in 19th century English and American Literature and Languages at Harvard University.

He taught English and American literature at Harvard and served on the Harvard Board of Overseers and as a vice-chair of its executive committee. He served as Dean of the College at Colgate University and Dartmouth College before serving for 13 years as the president of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Pelton became president of Emerson College on July 1, 2011.


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