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Presidential Search update - February 17, 2016

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

It is my great pleasure to announce that the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s College unanimously elected Jan Cervelli as the 12th President of Saint Mary’s College. She rose to the top after a national search. The Board chose Jan, out of a strong pool of candidates, because of her sophisticated sense of building consensus, her keen aesthetic sensibility, her experience in fundraising, building undergraduate and graduate programs, and her emphasis on sustainability. Many of you had the opportunity to meet Jan when she was on campus in January. Your thoughtful evaluations informed the Board’s decision and I thank you for taking such an active role in the search process.

President-elect Cervelli is currently serving as the 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 chosen to serve as their Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities. Prior to that she was the 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 she was recognized with the University Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and as a Master Teacher by the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society. In addition, she received the Outstanding Teaching Award from the United States Department of Agriculture.

During her interviews on campus, Jan stated that she feels like her life has come full circle. Raised in South Bend, she grew up directly across the St. Joseph River from the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. Hearing the bells of the church is ingrained in her childhood memories. She was educated at two schools influenced by Holy Cross – Holy Cross Grade School and Saint Joseph High School. 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. To learn more about Jan, please visit

The next few months will be a busy time for Saint Mary’s as we prepare to say farewell to President Carol Ann Mooney, who will retire on May 31 at the end of her contract. Her tenure will be remembered as one of many successes, including our recent campaign, Faith Always, Action Now, the building of Spes Unica, the renovations to Madeleva and Science Hall, and the beginning of the transformation of our athletic facilities. In addition, under her leadership Saint Mary’s developed graduate programs and grew steadily in national prominence. I know Carol joins me in wishing President elect Cervelli nothing but success as she leads Saint Mary’s into the future.


Mary L. Burke ’85
Chair, Board of Trustees

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