iOS app Android app

Patricia McGuire
Patricia McGuire is president of Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. She earned her B.A. in political science from Trinity and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, and received honorary degrees from Georgetown University, College of New Rochelle, College of St. Elizabeth and Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom. She is a board member of the D.C. College Success Foundation, Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, Women’s College Coalition, Washington Metropolitan Consortium of Universities, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Washington Hospital Center, United Educators, and the UNIFI Mutual Holding Company and she is a member of the Women’s Advisory Board of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital.

President McGuire is a nationally recognized leader in higher education, is a passionate advocate for women, and is committed to the transformative power of education. She has testified before US Senate and House committees and she writes and speaks on a wide variety of topics. Her writings have been published by the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, Inside Higher Ed and other publications. She blogs about contemporary issues at

Entries by Patricia McGuire

Perfect v. Good: Higher Ed Reform Edition

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2014 | 4:38 PM

Government officials are spending quite a lot of time these days in a well-meaning quest to make higher education perfect. The continuous imposition of new and increasingly complicated regulations on colleges, as well as a new rating system, seems to arise from a deeply held belief that if only presidents,...

Read Post

College Presidents Must Lead on Sexual Assault

(3) Comments | Posted September 1, 2014 | 11:55 AM

College presidents, usually a verbose bunch, have been remarkably silent in the media on the topic of campus sexual assault and remedies for this plague. Why the silence? Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of this issue; every single president I know agrees that sexual assault...

Read Post

Putting the Oxygen Back into Improving Education

(0) Comments | Posted August 24, 2014 | 11:40 AM

"I believe testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools." -- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a blog post.

Oops. Did Secretary of Education Arne Duncan just say the equivalent of "never mind" on high stakes tests?...

Read Post

Ferguson's Lessons for the Fall Semester

(0) Comments | Posted August 17, 2014 | 12:52 PM

The most serious educational failure in America was on display in Missouri last week, and it has nothing to do with high stakes testing even though the stakes are very high for our nation. Ferguson is the latest, but not the only, community...

Read Post

Perilous Plagiarism

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 2:48 PM

The accused claimed that the plagiarism was a mistake, the result of a medical condition, no big deal, surely offset by an otherwise stellar record. These words were shockingly familiar to me as a college president who has seen my fair share of plagiarism cases. They are part of the...

Read Post

A College President's Worst Nightmare

(7) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 8:58 AM

Elliot Rodger is a college president's worst nightmare: the unstable student whose deep illness only becomes clear in the aftermath of a homicidal rampage. Even as our hearts go out to his victims, their families and the community of the University of California at Santa Barbara,...

Read Post

Lost Girls Are Everywhere

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 11:59 AM

How many girls are lost? Consciousness is growing of the massive tragedy in Nigeria, where nearly 300 schoolgirls are kidnapped and possibly sold into sex trafficking rings by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Closer to home, the face of Relisha Rudd haunts...

Read Post

Giving Dreamers a Chance

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 4:29 PM

Dreamers received a remarkable boost for their educational aspirations last week when Donald Graham and a bipartisan group of visionary business and civic leaders announced the creation of TheDream.US, a scholarship program to help undocumented young people achieve their dream of a college degree....

Read Post

Bill Gates' Rose-Colored Glasses

(3) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 4:57 PM

Bill Gates must own the most advanced pair of rose-colored glasses in all of history. Being the richest man in the world (or second riches, depending on the daily wealth value race with Carlos Slim Helu) means never having to see the world through...

Read Post

Over-Reaching on Undermatching

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 5:21 PM

"Undermatching" is the latest buzzword to afflict higher education, a theory that "high achieving low income" students should choose only elite or "competitive" colleges and universities instead of the often-local institutions that serve low income students in large numbers. Skim the best off the top, the theory seems...

Read Post

Scandalous Options

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2014 | 4:30 PM

I had to stop reading when I got to the part of the amended complaint in the Options Charter School case that revealed the salaries of the people who used to run the school. Wow. I'm clearly in the wrong business! Who knew that being in...

Read Post

What's Out, What's In: 2014 Education Edition

(1) Comments | Posted December 29, 2013 | 8:31 PM

Since "Out" and "In" lists are in favor as the calendar flips, here are my nominees for what should be "Out" and "In" in education for 2014:

OUT: School Reform
IN: Transformed Teaching and Learning

"School Reform" as a phrase has all the charm of Nurse Ratched...

Read Post

The Humbug Factor

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 11:36 AM

A generous scholarship from a Trinity alumna made my college education possible. My folks put a premium on education, but with seven kids and only a very modest income, they needed help with college expenses. I have never forgotten that benefactor, though I never met her, and to...

Read Post

Silence of the Lame

(3) Comments | Posted December 14, 2013 | 12:18 PM

sandy hook vigil

Moments of silence erupted across the country on December 14 as the nation paused to observe the first anniversary of the massacre of 20 school children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,...

Read Post

Of Marxists, Mouthpieces and Men of the Cloth

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 3:36 PM

No less a learned philosopher than Rush Limbaugh has called Pope Francis a Marxist. Worse things, far worse, have been said about men of the cloth, some of them actually true --- but not this particularly ignorant remark in reference to the Pope's

Read Post

John Tydings: The Man to See

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 3:43 PM

How does a brand new chief executive with little little experience in the local business community get to know the people necessary to build the network that is essential for corporate success in this region?

When I was just starting out as Trinity's president in 1989, there was one clear...

Read Post

Silly Season at the US Department of Education

(18) Comments | Posted November 17, 2013 | 4:48 PM

"Silly" is a dismissive word, an adjective that calls to mind clown wigs and red bulbous noses.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan must hold a big stake in a clown wig factory. He uses the word "silly" a lot these days to describe people who have points of...

Read Post

They Can't Shut Down Mother Nature

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 11:37 AM

Attempting to "get away from it all" for a few hours over the weekend, I sought the beautiful sights of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore. Well, I may have been two hours away from Washington but I didn't get away from anything. Reminders of...

Read Post

The True Worth of a Higher Education

(3) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 11:09 AM

I spent the weekend exhorting my seniors to become servant leaders, to commit their lives to action for social justice, to heed the call of Pope Francis to instigate historical processes, not merely occupying spaces but becoming real agents of change for the world.

We did...

Read Post

Diss America

(1) Comments | Posted September 22, 2013 | 4:13 PM

Hell freezing over alert: I'm about to write something nice about Miss America.

Okay, I'm still not a fan of the beauty pageant. But I have new respect for Miss America as I have watched the new queen cope with the seriously depraved Neanderthals that...

Read Post