Susan ScrimshawALBANY & TROY, NY – President of The Sage Colleges Susan C. Scrimshaw announced today that she will step down at the conclusion of her contract in June 2017 after nine years at Sage and nearly 50 years in higher education. Scrimshaw, who has served as president of The Sage Colleges since 2008, has led Sage through a dramatic reinvigoration including growing enrollment, expanded academic programs, renewed fiscal health, increased visibility and diversity, and a highly successful Centennial campaign that is nearing a successful conclusion.

Under President Scrimshaw’s management, Sage has seen significant achievement. It has emerged from a budget deficit and is now operating with a balanced budget, Moody’s has upgraded its rating to “stable,” the endowment is up by almost 50%, all while Sage was holding the line on tuition for six straight years to keep a quality education affordable for students and their families.

“Our success is due to the efforts of the Sage community,” said scrimshawScrimshaw of The Sage Colleges. “There has always been a strong sense of family at Sage. I have enjoyed working to position Sage to thrive in its second century, so while this decision is bittersweet, the timing makes sense. When I began my work as president there were quite a few hurdles to overcome to ensure Sage’s viability. We all sat down, rolled up our sleeves and came up with a strategic plan to ensure Sage’s future for the next generation of students. I am proud of the milestones that I have been able to accomplish together with the faculty, staff, board, alumni and other community partners.”

With the help of her admissions team, undergraduate applications have increased by almost 157% since 2008, undergraduate enrollment has increased by over 4% and new graduate student credit hours have increased by more than 52%. Diversity on its campuses has increased by 12%. Sage is proud to host students from Afghanistan, China, Dubai, Greece, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Thailand.

In 2009 Sage restructured Sage Graduate School around three key areas of strength and expertise to create the donor funded Esteves School of Education, School of Health Sciences, and School of Management. Through President Scrimshaw’s efforts, Sage has seen the addition of an online division – Russell Sage Online, the School of Management has earned accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Educators, and Sage has expanded its MBA program to Saratoga County and its Educational Leadership program to New York City.

President Scrimshaw oversaw the development of the Sage for the Second Century plan which formalized the ability for students from either campus to take a major at either campus while still preserving Russell Sage College as a leading women’s college. During the plan’s first year, more than 70 students have taken advantage of the cross-college enrollment.  Now the Sage Colleges offers more than 70 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on its two campuses in Albany and Troy, NY and online.

“President Scrimshaw is a bold visionary, and her innovative and forward-thinking helped to transform The Sage Colleges at a pivotal time,” explained chair of the Board of Trustees Tip Simons. “We were very fortunate to have her at the helm.  She had to make some difficult decisions since being appointed, but because of those tough choices, Dr. Scrimshaw is leaving a lasting legacy for the next generation of students. Because of her efforts, The Sage Colleges is stronger than ever – a vibrant, diverse and academically outstanding institution that is on its way to university status.  The education it provides to its students will continue to change lives on a global level for another 100 years.”

Other milestones under President Scrimshaw’s leadership have included the acquisition and renovation of the Armory at Sage, a state-of-the-art Shea Learning Center, the addition of the M & T Bank Stock Trading Simulation Room, the Hannaford Nutrition and Physical Assessment Lab, the Manor Nutrition Lab, and the new Art + Design Technology Center which combines a Mac lab with heavy equipment like a 3D printer, laser cutter and large format printer, for use by students and faculty in the arts.

President Scrimshaw is also proud of the beautification projects on both campuses that have included the addition of sculptures, gardens and the planting of perennial native plants, all of which are enjoyed by the surrounding communities. She will also be leaving a greener Sage. By fall of 2016, Sage will be powering 80% of its campuses with solar energy through a remote net metering program with Monolith Solar.

Sage has experienced the growing recognition of its arts venues including the Theatre Institute at Sage, the Opalka Gallery and the Little Gallery. The athletics program has grown to include 15 NCAA Division III sports. President Scrimshaw and her husband Allan Stern are amongst the teams’ biggest supporters.

During her administration at Sage, President Scrimshaw has worked to foster community relations on both campuses and has encouraged the involvement of students, faculty and staff in community service projects with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, The Troy Business Improvement District, and the cities of Albany and Troy to name a few.

President Scrimshaw has spearheaded the launch of Sage’s most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of The Sage Colleges with a goal of $50 million. Due to the work of President Scrimshaw and her advancement team, to date, Sage has raised over $48 million toward that goal.

Interdisciplinary and high quality academics, the integration of liberal arts and professional disciplines, community engagement, international exposure, artistic and athletic endeavors remain among the pillars of the educational experience at The Sage Colleges, which has 37,000 living alumni and currently enrolls more than 2,900 students.

Today, The Sage Colleges consists of Russell Sage College in historic downtown Troy, New York, a comprehensive four-year college for women offering bachelor’s degrees in the liberal arts and sciences as well as professional fields; and the coeducational Sage College of Albany, in our capital city offering bachelor’s degrees and practical experience designed to prepare students for the careers of today and tomorrow.  Through its School of Professional and Continuing Education, Sage offers bachelor’s degree completion programs designed for busy, working adults. Sage’s graduate-level professional schools – Education, Health Sciences and Management – are coeducational environments offering advanced study for professional practice and leadership through master’s degrees, post-master’s certification in a wide variety of applied disciplines and doctoral degrees in professional disciplines. They serve both recent college graduates, including Sage students in accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs, and individuals already at work in their professions. Students can also pursue select bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs online through Russell Sage Online.

The Sage Board of Trustees will immediately begin the process of a national search for a new President. In the coming year, President Scrimshaw is looking forward to visiting with alumni across the nation, concluding the Centennial campaign, positioning Sage to apply to New York State for University status and leaving a strong platform for the next leader.

After stepping down, President Scrimshaw will keep some ties to the local region by serving on a local board. She will continue her professional involvement with the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin and the National Academy of Medicine. President Scrimshaw is also looking forward to completing the second edition of her co-edited book The Handbook of Social Studies in Health and Medicine, traveling with her husband Allan Stern, and spending time with grandchildren and friends.


Dr. Scrimshaw has served as President of the Sage Colleges since 2008.  She has worked in higher education since 1969 when she became a Research Associate at Columbia University while still a doctoral student. In addition to her numerous roles in the higher education community, Dr. Scrimshaw is a medical anthropologist whose work has focused on health disparities and health equity, minority health, health literacy, social determinants of health and has included areas ranging from reproductive health to global health to HIV/AIDS, health literacy and violence prevention.

In January of 2015, she began a three-year term as Co-Chair of the Institute of Medicine/ National Academy of Medicine’s Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education. In her role as Co-Chair she most recently presided over the release of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health. When she was elected to the IOM in 1993, she and her father became the first father/daughter IOM members. She has chaired the IOM Committee on Communication for Behavior Change: Improving the Health of Diverse Populations, and served as a member of many IOM Committees, including the Committee on Health Literacy. Dr. Scrimshaw also served as a member of the National Academy of Science (NAS) Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPUP).

Dr. Scrimshaw was honored in March with the Champion of Public Health Award by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. In October of 2015, Dr. Scrimshaw received the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal for her service to the National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine (IOM).  In December of 2014, she was awarded the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Career Achievement Award for helping to advance the field of medical anthropology through her career-long contributions to theory and method, and for her success in communicating the relevance of medical anthropology to broader publics.

A respected and accomplished scholar, Dr. Scrimshaw is the author of five books and numerous journal articles, book chapters and reports. In the public health field, she has served with distinction on the Chicago Board of Health and the Illinois State Board of Health. She is a former chair of the Association of Schools of Public Health.  Dr. Scrimshaw is currently a member of the Minority Health Council for New York State.

Dr. Scrimshaw serves in leadership capacities in numerous professional and academic organizations. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology, and is a past president of the Society for Medical Anthropology. Internationally Dr. Scrimshaw has served as president of the board of directors of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science.  She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Capital District Physicians Health Program (CDPHP).

For her work on the health of Latino populations, she received a gold medal from former President Vicente Fox of Mexico. Her many awards also include the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology and Distinguished Career Awards from the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Scrimshaw was born in Rochester, New York and raised in Guatemala until age 16, when she and her family returned to the Boston area, where her father chaired the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).