Inauguration of Saint Mary’s President Janice A. Cervelli is Saturday, November 12

November 7, 2016 (Notre Dame, Ind.) — Janice A. Cervelli will be formally installed as the 12th president of Saint Mary’s College on Saturday, November 12. The inauguration ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. in O’Laughlin Auditorium in the Moreau Center for the Arts. A reception will follow at 3 p.m. in the Cushwa-Leighton Library.

“In Saint Mary’s 172-year history, only 11 individuals have led as president. This is a very special opportunity to formally welcome Jan Cervelli to Saint Mary’s and back home to South Bend,” remarked Chair of the Board of Trustees Mary L. Burke ’85. “The community of students, faculty, staff, alumnae and friends of Saint Mary’s College look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with our colleagues that represent Indiana’s universities and colleges, women’s colleges, and the country’s top 100 liberal arts colleges.” 

President Cervelli grew up on Riverside Drive in South Bend, across the St. Joseph River from Saint Mary’s College. She attended Holy Cross Grade School and Saint Joseph High School and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree from Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and a master of landscape architecture from the University of Guelph.

She comes to Saint Mary’s from the University of Arizona, where she served for eight years as Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture. Previously, she was Dean of the Clemson University College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities from 2000-2007.

“As a women’s college rooted in a faith-based tradition, Saint Mary’s has a unique place in American higher education and serves an essential role in developing future leaders to address the world’s most pressing issues,” President Cervelli said. “Our mission is to educate students in mind and spirit to serve the greater good. I could not be more proud to lead the College in its pursuit of that ideal.”

The Board of Trustees announced President Cervelli’s appointment in February and she began her term on June 1, 2016. The Board selected President Cervelli for her sophisticated sense of building consensus, her strong commitment to shared governance, her ability to cultivate undergraduate and graduate programs, and her emphasis on sustainability.

“President Cervelli is an innovative leader who believes in a liberal arts education where students can collaborate and grow,” said Student Body President Emma McCarthy ’17. “She knows women’s colleges, like Saint Mary’s, provide an amazing environment where young women thrive. I look forward to watching the ways in which Saint Mary’s will continue to flourish under her direction.”

Over the course of the next year, President Cervelli is conducting her Listening Tour in preparation of her first strategic plan for Saint Mary’s. She invites comments from students, alumnae, parents, faculty, and staff about their vision for the future of the College at

About Saint Mary's College: Celebrating over 175 years of empowering women to make a difference in the world, Saint Mary’s College is recognized as a pioneer and continued force in the education of women. A Catholic, liberal arts institution in Notre Dame, Indiana, the College offers more than 50 undergraduate academic programs and also offers co-educational master’s degrees.

Contact for News Media: Gwen O'Brien, Director of Integrated Communications, Saint Mary’s College, (574) 284-4579

Back to Stories