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Dr. Merodie A. Hancock serves as the fourth president of Thomas Edison State University, having assumed office March 5, 2018, following an extensive national search.
She is a nationally recognized leader in the administration and delivery of innovative education programs for adult students. Access, success and completion make up Hancock's educational philosophy. Through decades of meaningful interaction with nontraditional learners, she says she knows empirically that education is the nexus through which one's capability is harnessed for positive personal and professional growth and societal impact. She has dedicated her career to serving a multitude of under-represented populations, including veterans and active-duty military members.
Prior to her election as president of Thomas Edison State University, she served as president of State University of New York Empire State College, where she was responsible for the operation of the school's 35 locations throughout New York, its worldwide online programs and eight international sites.
Previously, she served as vice president at Central Michigan University Global Campus and held administrative leadership and teaching positions at the University of Maryland University College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Dr. Hancock serves as a member of the Council of State Representatives and Emerging Technology Task Force for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, as well as the New Jersey Presidents' Council. She is a member of the board of directors for Choose New Jersey, Greater Trenton, Inc., New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, NJEdge, and the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce.
She previously served on the board of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, Inside Track Advisory Board, the Distance Education Commission Advisory Group for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the National Association of Institutions for Military Education Services (past president), United Way of Isabella County (Michigan), United Way of Greater Capital District (New York), and Special Olympics Michigan. She has served in active roles at the American Council on Education, Council of College and Military Educators, League for Innovation, and as a member of the National Commission on Online Learning Benchmarking Study.
As an external reviewer for several universities, she has participated in numerous self-studies, reports and evaluation visits for regional accreditors, the Department of Defense, state-approving agencies and specialized accrediting organizations. She speaks widely on such topics as strategic partnerships, pricing models, and innovative teaching best practices at professional conferences and meetings.
Dr. Hancock holds a PhD in urban services and education administration from Old Dominion University, an MBA from Claremont Graduate University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Scripps College. She holds certificates from the Institute of Educational Management, Harvard University and the University Professional Continuing Education Association Leadership Academy, New York University; a certificate in Process Design and Implementation: Reengineering and Change Management from Michael Hammer and Company; and a certificate in Nonprofit Board Leadership from the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University, Michigan.
Hear from Dr. Hancock in her own words
Bonnie Watson Coleman, a long-time and influential advocate for the people of New Jersey, is currently serving her sophomore term in the United States Congress. Prior to her election as Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Watson Coleman served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly.
The daughter of legendary state legislator John S. Watson, Watson Coleman has continued a family legacy of public service fighting for women, economically and socially disadvantaged populations, and other vulnerable groups in our society. Watson Coleman shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first Black woman to serve as Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, and as the Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. Her election to the House of Representatives makes her the first Black woman to represent New Jersey in Congress.
Watson Coleman has led the call for reforms to prisoner re-entry programs, fighting tirelessly to shut the revolving door of recidivism for individuals who have returned from incarceration. During her time as Majority Leader, Watson Coleman convened a year-long series of public hearings on the topic while shepherding legislation through the New Jersey Assembly that The New York Times called “a model for the rest of the nation,” on prisoner rehabilitation and release.
For her second term, as a member of the 115th Congress, Watson Coleman was selected by her colleagues as the Vice Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, where she is also Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security. She also serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Watson Coleman has championed legislation to protect vulnerable Americans and communities related to gun safety, environmental protection, and long-term unemployment. Watson Coleman is the author of the Healthy MOM Act, which would allow women to enroll in, or change their health coverage if they become pregnant, the End For-Profit Prisons Act, which would prohibit the federal government from contracting with for-profit prison corporations and, the SAFER Pipelines Act that would reform the gas pipeline approval process overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
In 2016, Watson Coleman, alongside two of her colleagues, founded the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, the first House caucus to study policy issues related to the continued success and accomplishments of that population. Watson Coleman is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Watson Coleman graduated from Thomas Edison State College and received honorary doctorate degrees from The College of New Jersey, Rider University and Stockton University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and co-chair of the Girl Scouts of America Capitol Hill Honorary Troop.
Watson Coleman and her husband William reside in Ewing Township and are blessed to have three sons; William, Troy, and Jared and three grandchildren; William, Kamryn and Ashanee.
Thomas Edison State University is honored to welcome distinguished representatives of higher education institutions and other special guests to the inauguration of Merodie A. Hancock, PhD, the University’s fourth president.
Representatives of academic institutions are cordially invited to march in the Inaugural Procession on September 29, 2018. Delegates are requested to provide their own academic regalia.
All events take place at the Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton, NJ.
President’s Luncheon for Delegates and Special Guests
Delegate Robing for the Inaugural Procession
Inaugural Procession Begins
Inauguration ceremony concludes, followed immediately by the University’s 46th Annual Commencement Ceremony
The Cure Insurance Arena is located on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and South Broad Street in Trenton, NJ and is also accessible via Route 129 and Hamilton Avenue in Trenton. Ample, secure parking is available on site. Parking and Directions Information »
A block of rooms has been reserved for VIP guests on September 28 and 29 at a discounted rate of $145 per night. Please reference Thomas Edison State University when making your reservation. Kindly reserve your room by August 24, 2018.
Hyatt Regency Princeton
102 Carnegie Center
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
Phone: (609) 987-1234
Please use the form below to leave a special note for Dr. Hancock.
Learn more about President Hancock's three predecessors and their roles in shaping Thomas Edison State University.
1972: It was a very good year!
Also in 1972, Edison College, known today as Thomas Edison State University, was established by the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education. Before that, no institution quite like it had ever existed.
According to the resolution establishing the school, Edison College was created to “…enable individuals to receive academic recognition for skills and knowledge acquired in a variety of ways and would permit New Jersey residents to complete part or all of their work toward a baccalaureate or associate degree without formal attendance at a campus.”