Michael S. McPherson was the fifth president of the Spencer Foundation and is a nonresident fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Before joining the Spencer Foundation in 2003, he was president of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, for seven years. A nationally known economist whose expertise focuses on the interplay between education and economics, McPherson spent the 22 years before his Macalester presidency as professor of economics, chairman of the economics department, and dean of faculty at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
McPherson is coauthor and editor of several books, including Lesson Plan: An Agenda for Change in American Higher Education; Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities; and College Access: Opportunity or Privilege? He was also founding coeditor of the journal Economics and Philosophy. He has been a trustee of the College Board, the American Council on Education, Wesleyan University, and the DentaQuest Foundation. He was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a trustee of McNally Smith College of Music and president of the board of overseers of TIAA-CREF. McPherson holds a BA in mathematics, an MA in economics, and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago.