Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong to be inaugurated as Salve Regina’s eighth president
Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong will be inaugurated as Salve Regina’s eighth president on Friday, Sept. 20 when the campus community gathers for a full day of events to kick off a theme for the upcoming academic year: “The Mercy Promise: A Celebration of Our Community, Collaboration and the Creative Spirit.”
The inauguration ceremony, open to both the Salve Regina and Newport communities, will be held at 3 p.m. beneath a tent on the oceanside lawn of McAuley Hall. Members of the University community and invited guests will participate in a procession to the tent from the O’Hare Academic Building beginning at 2:30 p.m.
The day of events will begin with a Mass at 12:15 p.m. A barbecue for students will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Gerety Hall lawn and, later in the evening, students are invited to join their new president at an inaugural ball under the tent. The University will end classes at noon on Friday to give students an opportunity to participate throughout the day.
Armstrong, who succeeds Dr. Jane Gerety, RSM, officially began her duties as president in July. She becomes the first layperson to serve as president of the University, which was founded by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. Coinciding with Armstrong’s inauguration, the University will be celebrating Mercy Week with several events scheduled Sept. 18-26.
“I’m humbled and honored to serve at such an exceptional institution,” Armstrong said. “What sets Salve apart from other universities is that in the great tradition of a mercy education, we help our students become their best selves and make a difference in the world. Salve students are making a difference.”
Armstrong’s work in higher education has centered on improving the educational experience for students through research, planning and strategy. She is particularly passionate about serving disadvantaged students and supporting the advancement of women in underrepresented areas.
“My role at Salve will be to do everything in my power to ensure that the mercy mission prevails,” she said. “And that the most important expression of this mission is in the education that we deliver to our students.”
A 1986 graduate of Bates College, Armstrong earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia in 1987, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Boston College in 1996. She also earned an executive leadership certificate in management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018.
“Dr. Kelli Armstrong is the ideal person to lead Salve Regina into its next chapter,” said Cheryl Mrozowski, chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees. “Her ability to articulate a vision plan by highlighting and promoting Salve’s valuable educational experience centered on its strong liberal arts tradition and underscored by the mercy values of service illustrates her strength. Her collaborative leadership style of building constituencies and promoting transparency in communication is the perfect fit for Salve. Her background in planning and assessment at Boston College provides valuable hands on experience for leading Salve into the future.”
Prior to beginning her tenure as Salve’s president, Armstrong served the Boston College community in a variety of positions, including as vice president for planning and assessment (2012-2019), associate vice president (2006-2012) and as founding director of the institutional research department (2004-2006).
Armstrong is the eldest of four daughters and grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts. Next to the family’s Catholic faith and devotion to service, the most important value in their household was education, a commitment that inspired Armstrong to pursue her career in the field. She is married to Brian Griffin, an attorney, and they have two sons, David and Jake.