Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Cervelli to be formally installed in inauguration ceremony

Jan Cervelli took office as the 12th president of Saint Mary’s in June, but this Saturday, she will be formally installed in an inauguration ceremony at 1:30 p.m. in O’Laughlin Auditorium, with a reception to follow in Cushwa-Leighton Library.

“In Saint Mary’s 172-year history, only 11 individuals have led as president,” Mary Burke, class of 1985 and chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a press release. “This is a very special opportunity to formally welcome Jan Cervelli to Saint Mary’s and back home to South Bend. 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 college, women’s colleges and the country’s top 100 liberal arts colleges.”

The inauguration celebrations began Tuesday with the planting of a Trinity Tree. According to a release, the tree represented the shared values and collaboration among Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross. University president Fr. John Jenkins and Brother Jesus Alonso, vice president for strategic initiatives at Holy Cross, were in attendance.

According to a press release, Cervelli grew up in South Bend across the St. Joseph River from Saint Mary’s. She attended Holy Cross Grade School and Saint Joseph High School before pursuing a bachelor of science from Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and a master of landscape architecture from the University of Guelph.

Prior to arriving at the College, Cervelli served as Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. She also served as Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson University from 2000 to 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,” Cervelli said in the release. “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.”

Cervelli’s appointment was announced in February. According to the release, the Board of Trustees chose 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.”

Senior student body president Emma McCarthy, said in the release that Cervelli believes in an education based in the liberal arts where students grow through collaboration.

“She knows women’s colleges, like Saint Mary’s, provide an amazing environment where young women thrive,” McCarthy said in the release. “I look forward to watching the ways in which Saint Mary’s will continue to flourish under her direction.”

Cervelli is also hosting a listening tour over the next year to prepare for her first strategic plan for the College. Throughout the year, she will gather comments from students, alumnae, parents, faculty and staff about their vision for the future of Saint Mary’s.