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Saint Mary's College Announces New President-Elect

Wednesday, February 17, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ann Gilly
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February 17, 2016—South Bend-native Jan Cervelli, a dean at The University of Arizona, will serve as the 12th president of Saint Mary’s College. Mary L. Burke ’85, chair of the Board of Trustees, introduced Cervelli as the president-elect this afternoon at a celebratory event on campus. Cervelli will succeed President Carol Ann Mooney who will retire on May 31 after 12 years. Cervelli will begin her term on June 1. She will be formally installed as president at her inauguration in the late fall. Saint Mary's College currently has 1557 undergraduate students and 35 graduate students.

“There is nothing that the Board of Trustees does that is more important than the hiring of the President. The person selected has a tremendous impact on both the day-to-day workings of the College and its future success,” Burke said at the event.

“The Board chose Jan, out of a strong pool of candidates, because of her sophisticated sense of building consensus, her strong commitment to shared governance, her experience in fundraising, building undergraduate and graduate programs, and her emphasis on sustainability. Her term will begin at a time when her keen aesthetic sensibility will influence potential outcomes from the College’s recently completed campus master plan.”

Cervelli is an academic and an administrator. She is Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture and Professor of Landscape Architecture at The University of Arizona.  She became the first woman Dean at Clemson University when she was selected as their Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities.  She also served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the University of Kentucky. While a faculty member at the University of Kentucky, Cervelli was recognized with the University Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and as a Master Teacher by the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society.

Her sister, Patricia, is a 1972 graduate of Saint Mary’s College. Cervelli had a desire to attend Saint Mary’s too, but her passion for landscape architecture took her to Purdue University for her undergraduate studies and the University of Guelph, Canada for her terminal degree. She grew up in South Bend directly across the St. Joseph River from the Saint Mary’s campus and is the product of two local Catholic schools with strong Holy Cross influences— Holy Cross School and Saint Joseph High School.

“Jan is a shining example of someone, educated in the tradition of Holy Cross, who became a complete person through the intellectual pursuits of varying disciplines and interests. This enables her to engage challenges in creative ways to make a difference in her work,” said Sister Veronique Wiedower CSC, president of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Saint Mary’s launched a national search to find its next president immediately after President Mooney’s retirement announcement. By August a search committee was formed. The committee conducted listening sessions with students, faculty, vice presidents, alumnae, and staff to identify the key qualifications, personal attributes, and professional characteristics desired in the next president. Finalists came to campus to meet the College community and students, faculty, and staff provided evaluations of the candidates.

“It is the practice of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who founded Saint Mary’s more than172 years ago, to reflect on the signs of the times, discern needs, and respond. In that spirit we believe Jan is the perfect leader for this time at Saint Mary’s,” said Elizabeth Culligan ’72, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and a Trustee.

Cervelli’s mother, Teresa, who lives in Granger, attended the celebratory event on campus, along with some of the president-elect's local friends.  

About Saint Mary's College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, residential, women’s liberal arts college offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study, such as business, nursing, art, chemistry, and social work. Saint Mary’s College also offers two graduate degrees: a Master of Science and a Doctorate. All programs that fall under these degrees are co-educational and include a Master of Science in Data Science, a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College seeks, according to its mission statement, to educate students, develop their talents, and prepare them to make a difference in the world. Saint Mary’s College ranks among the top 100 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges for 2016 published by U.S. News & World Report. Follow Saint Mary's College on Twitter @saintmarys and @saintmarysnews