Phillips Exeter Academy | News for Alumni and Parents

 News for Alumni and Parents 

Exeter Honors Susan Herney with the 2013 Founder's Day Award

May 10, 2013

Scroll to the bottom of this page or visit Phillips Exeter on to watch the entire 2013 Founder's Day Assembly.

For portions of five decades, Susan Herney '69, '74, '83 (Hon.) served Exeter as a leading voice for inclusion and an advocate for change.

During 19 years in the Dean of Students Office (1972-1991), Herney advocated for female students and faculty, pushed for cultural inclusivity and helped smooth Exeter's transition to coeducation. When she became Exeter's first female dean of students in 1985, Herney instituted training on adolescent development for faculty and programs to support students who struggled academically or socially. Her actions guided Exeter's shift in the 1970s and 80s from an austere institution to a nurturing school that sought to educate and prepare the whole student.

Susan Herney speaks about Exeter, coeducation, and why she felt compelled to stay at the Academy. If you can't see the video, watch it on Vimeo.

In the Dean of Students Office and as the head of five dorms, Herney became known as a role model who held students to high standards of behavior, yet did everything with a sense of kindness and compassion that touched the lives of many.

Always willing to serve, Herney took on other leadership positions after concluding her term as dean. In a seven-year stint with the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, Herney built the Academy's stewardship program and oversaw the use of hundreds of Exeter's endowed funds. In 1998, she moved to Admissions as associate director and expanded Exeter's travel program in an effort to attract students from more diverse backgrounds.

During her career, Herney worked continually to build up others. In seeking to enhance the status of women, adding warmth to the rigorous academic life, stewarding gifts to the Academy, and searching out talented students "from every quarter," Herney exemplified the spirit of non sibi in every position she held.

In recognition of her lifetime of service to Exeter, Herney received the 2013 Founder's Day Award at a special assembly on May 17.

—Mike Nagel

If you can't see the video, watch it on

Read the 2013 Founder's Day Award citation (.pdf)

Read Herney's acceptance remarks (.pdf)

About the Founder's Day Award:
The Founder's Day Award is given annually to an alumnus, alumna, faculty emeritus or emerita, retired staff member, parent or friend who has demonstrated exceptional service to the Academy. The service must be extraordinary—beyond what is regularly contributed by others doing similar service—and the nominee must still be living at the time of nomination. See a list of past recipients.