Deans Jane McAuliffe and Elizabeth Andretta both announced plans to leave Georgetown this summer over the weekend. McAulifee, the Dean of Georgetown College, will become the next president of Bryn Mawr College, the school’s board trustees announced last Friday, and Andretta, Associate Dean and Director of the Undergraduate Program in the School of Foreign Service will serve as the faculty-in-residence at Georgetown’s Villa le Balze in Fiesole, Italy.
After a yearlong search for a replacement for outgoing President Nancy Vickers, Bryn Mawr’s Board of Trustees unanimously selected McAuliffe, who has served as Dean of the College since 1999, to be the eighth President of Bryn Mawr, an all-women’s liberal arts college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She will officially assume the position on July 1 of this year.
McAuliffe said that the Presidential Search Committee at Bryn Mawr first contacted her to see if she wanted to be considered for the position late last year. She cited the leadership role she would play at Bryn Mawr as her main motivator to accept the position.
“I think the opportunity to be president at one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country is just a terrific challenge, and one that I am looking forward to,” she said.
McAuliffe said that while she has some general ideas about her hopes for Bryn Mawr, she does not yet have specific plans for what she will do as President. She said that she prefers to discuss her ideas with people at Bryn Mawr before talking about them publicly.
“I’m not coming in with a preset agenda,” she said. “Drawing from my experience at Georgetown, the best way to help move an institution forward is in a very collaborative manner with faculty, students and administrators.”
Along with her position as a dean, McAuliffe is a tenured professor in Georgetown’s History and Arabic and Islamic Studies departments, and a Senior Fellow of the Prince Alwaleed Bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Before coming to Georgetown, she served as a professor and department chair at the University of Toronto, as well as an associate dean and professor at Emory University.
McAuliffe received her B.A. in philosophy and classics from Trinity College, an all-women’s college in Washington, D.C., in 1968. She received a M.A. in religious studies in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Islamic studies in 1984, both from the University of Toronto.
In a letter to the Bryn Mawr community announcing the selection of McAuliffe, Sally Zeckhauser, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Arlene Gibson, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, praised McAuliffe’s accomplishments at Georgetown and said that she will fit in well at Bryn Mawr.
“Over the past year the search committee canvassed a diverse field of extraordinary candidates across all areas of professional accomplishment, both within and beyond the academy,” they wrote. “Dr. McAuliffe rose to the top of that field because her vision, intellect and commitment to women’s education are a perfect fit for our community.”
Members of the Georgetown faculty were saddened by McAuliffe’s intended departure. Hugh Cloke, Senior Associate Dean of the College, and James O’Donnell, the University Provost, both praised McAuliffe’s work at Georgetown and wished her well at Bryn Mawr.
“Dean McAuliffe will be remembered for the energy, intelligence, and vision she bought to the College, qualities which I am sure caught the eye of the search committee at Bryn Mawr,” Cloke said in an e-mail.
“Dean McAuliffe has had a true hall-of-fame career at Georgetown, leading academic innovation, faculty growth and fundraising support in a hundred ways,” O’Donnell said.
“Without her, we would not have a Performing Arts Center; we would not have the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; we would not have the Ignatian Seminars [first-semester College courses based on class discussion about unique topics; and we just would not have many of the stellar faculty who are the heart and soul of the College.It’s a great opportunity for her, but she leaves astonishingly large shoes to fill,” he said
McAuliffe’s husband Dennis, currently an Associate Professor in Italian at Georgetown and Director of the Catholic Studies Program, will also be leaving Georgetown for Bryn Mawr. He said that he would serve as an Associate Professor in Italian there as well, focusing on “medieval and Renaissance Italian literature,” as well as continuing the social and student outreach programs he’s worked with at Georgetown.
“For me, it [is] the challenge of doing what I do here with the Catholic identity of Georgetown, our values expressed in our mission statement at Georgetown, to see if I can work within a non-Catholic institution and promote those same ideals and values,” Dennis McAuliffe said.
Dean Andretta announced in an e-mail sent on Monday that she will be leaving Georgetown’s main campus for its study abroad program in Fiesole, Italy. She said that a search was ongoing to name her successor, and that a new Associate Dean would be in place by the summer.
Andretta could not be reached for comment.
Students that Andretta advised said that they will miss her.
“I’m … disappointed. I was hoping to take a class with her. I’ve heard great things about her as a professor and as a dean, but I’m sure she’ll be an asset wherever she’s going,” Liz Mechael (SFS’11) said.