Mattapoisett School Committee member takes Mass Maritime administration position

Jul 8, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — Mattapoisett School Committee member Dr. Shannon Finning has been hired as vice president of student services at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

In her new role, Finning will be responsible for the direction, leadership and management of the student services division, including the dean of students and commandant's office, athletics, health services and public safety.

“We’re extremely fortunate to add Dr. Finning to the leadership team at the Academy,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “She brings a wealth of experience as a leader and passionate advocate for students. We look forward to working with her and learning from her.”

Finning previously served as vice president for student affairs at Springfield College, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Clemson University, and dean of student affairs at Babson College. Finning also held positions in career services, student conduct, student activities, orientation programs, assessment and admissions at public and private institutions, including Drexel University, Bryant University and Bridgewater State University.

“I’m honored to be joining MMA and feel a personal alignment with the Academy’s mission, values and priorities,” said Finning. “I’m excited about the opportunity to partner with senior administrators, faculty, staff, student leaders and trustees to ensure cadets receive the highest quality student life experience through services that support their well-being, development, engagement and success and to collaborate with the student services team to envision and shape the next era of innovation and excellence for student services in alignment with the Academy's mission and strategic commitments.”

Finning joins the Massachusetts Maritime Academy staff from UMass Dartmouth, where she served as vice chancellor for student affairs beginning in 2018. In April, Finning was the subject of a letter by UMass Dartmouth students, calling her “unfit to serve” in her role, noting that policies at UMass Dartmouth “have caused trauma, violence, and harm, particularly to students of color.” Finning is a member of the Old Rochester School Committee’s Anti-Racism Subcommittee. In a statement in April, Finning said her departure from UMass Dartmouth was not related to the student letter.

A native of Easton, Finning entered the field of student affairs and student services more than 20 years ago.

“Simply put, students – their development, well-being, and success – are my why,” Finning said. “Every day I am grateful for the opportunity I have as a student services educator to witness significant life moments – love, loss, rewards, and repercussions – and am humbled by the duty I have to develop citizens of the world and the opportunity to impact one student and the larger community every day.”

Finning, her husband Michael Kwoka, her son and two miniature English bulldogs live in Mattapoisett.