Jackie Jenkins-Scott


President of Wheelock College (2004-2016) in Boston, MA


President of Wheelock College (2004-2016) in Boston, MA

Jackie Jenkins-Scott’s more-than-30-year career in education, public health and human services always has been driven by an activist’s vision – to transform nonprofit institutions so they can make broader, deeper and more meaningful changes for the better in individual lives and communities.

Whether holding leadership positions with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Departments of Public and Mental Health; then serving as President and Chief Executive Officer (1983-2004) of the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, MA; or, most recently, as president of Wheelock College (2004-2016), Jackie has used her prodigious leadership skills and enormous energy to convert complex institutional challenges into exciting, valuable opportunities for renewal and growth. “I care deeply about what is important to civil and human rights and quality of life for all of us,” she says. “Education is paramount – it transforms lives and societies for the greater good.”

Jackie holds a B.S. degree from Eastern Michigan University and an MSW degree from Boston University School of Social Work, and completed a Post Graduate Research Fellowship at Radcliffe College. Her personal commitment to improve society extends to active community and civic engagement. Among others, she is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation (founding member), Schott Foundation for Public Education, Center for Community Change (Washington DC), and John F. Kennedy Library Foundation (audit and program committees). From 2010–2015, she served the Boston Foundation (Governance Committee, Program Committee) and WGBH Public Television and Radio (Audit Committee). 

Her expertise in education made Jackie a trusted resource for Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino when she received important appointments as co-chair of the Readiness Project, which developed a 10-year strategic plan for education in the Commonwealth; and co-chair of the School Readiness Action Planning Team, which created a strategic plan (Thrive in Five) to reduce the achievement gap among Boston school children. Most recently, Mayor Martin Walsh named Jackie to his Economic Development Transition Committee.

Highlight Project: Reformation of Wheelock College

A small 127-year-old private college specializing in educating excellent teachers and social workers, Wheelock College was struggling with low endowment, shrinking enrollment, outdated facilities, narrow programmatic offerings, and a muted campus life when Jackie became its 13th president and accepted the board of directors’ mandate to dramatically revitalize nearly every facet of the institution.

Under her strategic leadership, the College significantly increased annual giving; raised major new funds for special projects; increased its endowment, and successfully completed an $82 million capital campaign – by far the largest in the College’s history. Within ten years, Jackie also completed an evaluation of Wheelock’s facilities and resources and created its first comprehensive facility master plan that transformed the College’s campus into a modern, student and faculty-focused environment. A strikingly contemporary multipurpose Campus Center on Boston’s landmark Riverway; modern renovations to student dormitories; and a new state-of-the-art, technology-based Center for Learning and Innovation – which also houses new faculty offices and a welcoming Alumni Center – all contributed to Wheelock’s quality of teaching and learning and to a new campus vitality.

Because of Jackie, active civic engagement locally and globally is now a hallmark of a Wheelock education. Expanding international programs, she created Wheelock’s first international conference, Global Challenges and Opportunities Facing Children, Youth and Families, which drew more than 500 participants from five continents to the campus; developed innovative partnerships with the City of Boston that educated Wheelock students while serving the poorest of neighborhoods; and created an inspiring array of service learning opportunities – locally, nationally, and globally – that have encouraged more students to learn in the real world and experience their power to make a positive impact in it, all in keeping with Wheelock’s board of directors’ mandate to revitalize the College’s brand while also advancing its foundational mission.