View the inauguration of President Treadwell
Keene State celebrated the inauguration of its eleventh president, Dr. Melinda Treadwell on April 5.
Keene State’s First Alumna President Laying the Path Forward
Melinda Treadwell ’90 is a woman in motion. On Move-In Day, she can be found lugging students’ suitcases up the stairs of first-year dorms. On Election Day, she’s taking a turn behind the wheel of the van transporting students to their polling place. Speaking before a gathering, she eschews the podium and paces about, wireless microphone in hand, gesturing as she talks – usually extemporaneously.
“I’m kind of a yellow Lab,” Keene State’s eleventh president says. “I bound around this campus with unending energy and hope and positivity.” What drives all that energy? A desire to be an active presence, to connect personally with students, to be the College’s biggest advocate, certainly. But it goes deeper than that, to a determination to push past expectations that can be traced back to her time as a compliance officer.
An industrial safety major/chemistry minor at Keene State with a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from Dartmouth Medical School, Treadwell tells the story about working as corporate toxicologist for Lockheed Martin Marietta. Her job involved ensuring that the company followed OSHA regulations – all well and good, but, as she tells it, “I wanted to set the standards, not just ensure compliance, because I wanted to do more than just the minimum in health protection.” In fact, she says, she wasn’t confident that aspiring to satisfy the federal baseline was enough when it came to caring about people and the environment.
“I guess it’s part of my indignation about just meeting the bare minimum of things,” she adds. “I don’t believe in it.”
That experience led Treadwell to shift into positions in public health policy in state government and with a nonprofit, which had her building coalitions with business leaders, nonprofits, and advocacy groups and testifying at the State House in Concord and on Capitol Hill. The goal was to “push us to the best public health proposals that we could and also balance the need for economic growth,” she says.
The negotiation skills she gained, the ability to speak in a way that’s direct and compelling, the deep listening needed to bring people to agreement – she draws on those in her work as Keene State’s president. She also draws on her own experiences as a student at the College. Read more