The White Plains Examiner

Mercy President Looks to Grow School, Prepare Students for New Reality

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Mercy President Kimberly Cline

When Kimberly Cline entered college, she had little doubt about her future. The valedictorian of her high school class, Cline knew heading into freshman year that she’d earn a medical degree and become a pediatrician. That dream lasted until her zoology teacher made her class dissect a pig; she realized medicine wasn’t for her and became a lawyer.

So Cline, who three-and-a-half years ago became president of Mercy College, knows how important it is to give college students a number of options.

“People do change their mind. The average student in college, no matter where they are, changes their mind a couple of times,” Cline said. “If you’re at a college that has five or 10 programs and you think you want to study business but you decide you want to be in education and they don’t have education, you have to leave the school.”

Part of the appeal of Mercy College, she explained, is that there are 90 undergraduate and graduate programs and five different campuses, including locations in White Plains and Yorktown along with the school’s main campus in Dobbs Ferry. Students who decide freshman or sophomore year they don’t like the major they picked have plenty of other options if they decide to stay at the school.

After serving as the Chief Financial Officer of the State University of New York, Cline became Mercy’s 10th president in July 2008, just before the subprime mortgage crisis crippled the nation’s economy. Just as it changed the reality for those in the corporate world, it changed the reality for institutions preparing young adults to enter it.

“Even as we come out of sort of an economic downturn, it’s important to develop programs where students can get jobs and have really strong careers,” Cline explained. “The jobs that are going to be the top jobs in 10 years probably aren’t even invented yet. You really have to keep abreast of those areas.”

With the job market tough for recent graduates, Cline has made efforts to make sure Mercy’s students have every advantage possible.

“We want them to have resumes by November of their freshman year,” she said.

In their freshman and sophomore years, students generally establish relationships with local companies, such as shadow opportunities. Later on, they’ll do internships.

Cline also stressed the importance of keeping the school affordable – full-time undergraduate tuition is $8,410 per term – so graduates wouldn’t be entering the workforce $100,000 in debt.

Since Cline took over enrollment has grown to its all-time high, as Mercy has added 108 new staff and faculty jobs, including 47 this school year.

“The jobs have been created just through our success. Enrollment is at a record high with strong, quality students,” Cline said. “I think that we have just improved our operations, refocused on our students being first, looked at where we could make processes more efficient for students.”

A signature initiative launched by Cline has been the school’s Personal Achievement Contract, or PACT, a program that provides incoming students with a mentor.

Mercy’s White Plains campus, located on Martine Avenue, is the home campus of the school’s Computer Arts and Design Program. The campus’ Center for Digital Arts has high-tech professional sound recording studios; approximately 450 of Mercy’s 10,000 students go to class on the White Plains campus.

The Yorktown campus has 765 students, both graduate and undergraduate, in subjects including behavioral science, business, criminal justice, English, history, psychology and sociology.

Cline has worked to improve the school’s Honors program, which she said has grown over the past few years. She’s brought on board accomplished faculty who, she says, “could be at many places, and they choose to be at Mercy.”

“People are starting to recognize the things that we’re doing, and that’s really important,” said Cline. “What I love about Mercy is that it’s really all about the students, and that it’s focused on taking students that have a motivation to succeed and helping them achieve their dream.”

Mercy’s main campus in Dobbs Ferry is located at 555 North Broadway; its White Plains campus is located at 277 Martine Ave.; and its Yorktown Campus is at 2651 Strang Blvd. For more information on Mercy College visit or call 1-877-637-2946.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story had an incorrect phone number.



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