Aisha Francis, PhD, was appointed president of Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology (BFCIT) by its board of trustees in 2021. She is the first female president in the more than 100-year history of BFCIT after previously serving as the college’s chief executive officer. Dr. Francis leads the college in advancing its mission of preparing graduates for work, life-long learning, and citizenship through personalized support, hands-on learning, and industry-informed curricula.
Dr. Francis is an award-winning nonprofit leader and educator with broad experience in strategic planning, philanthropy, board relations, marketing, and communications. She is committed to making her life’s work the building of effective organizations and supporting individuals to transform underserved communities for the better. She is known for being an insightful strategist who implements dynamic new programs at best-in-class organizations that improve access to and equity of educational and economic opportunities.
In her previous role as BFCIT’s chief of staff, Dr. Francis built the college’s network of supporters through external and government relations and oversaw selected aspects of administrative operations. Prior to joining BFIT, she served as managing director of development for Harvard Medical School, raising the funds applied to medical student scholarships and diversity and inclusion programs. She previously lead the marketing and fundraising efforts for Economic Mobility Pathways and held leadership positions at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Boston Medical Center.
With a background in academia, Dr. Francis began her career as a college educator of English literature and women’s studies. She has published original scholarship and provides commentary on these areas of study as well as matters relevant to higher education.
Recognized by the Boston Business Journal as among the “40 Under 40” leaders to watch, Dr. Francis contributes to the civic health of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through volunteer work, advocacy, and appointments. In 2021, Dr. Francis was appointed by Governor Baker to the board of directors of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and was appointed in 2020 to the City of Boston’s Employment Commission by Mayor Walsh. She was the Civic Action Projects executive fellow in spring of 2022. Dr. Francis sits on the boards of the Association of Independent Colleges of Massachusetts and public radio station WBUR. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Environmental League of Massachusetts.
Dr. Francis resides in Hyde Park with her husband and two young children. Originally from Nashville, TN, she completed her undergraduate education at Fisk University and holds a Ph.D.in English literature from Vanderbilt University.