Lourdes University Welcomes New President

Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek
Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek

“I love the first day of school,” noted Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D, who joined Lourdes University as its 10th president on July 1. “I’m particularly pleased to have experienced this first day of classes at Lourdes University,” she said. “I am so passionate about education.”

Dr. Gawelek, a native of Maple Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and her master’s and doctorate degrees in counseling psychology from Boston University. She was a graduate faculty member and academic administrator at Boston University and Lesley University.

Prior to coming to Lourdes, Dr. Gawelek served as chief academic officer at Seton Hill University for 20 years. While at Seton Hill, Dr. Gawelek held the rank of professor in psychology and served first as vice president for academic affairs and then provost and dean of the faculty.

What brought you to Lourdes University?
I was quite impressed with the essence of Lourdes, from the deep and rich commitment to the mission of the university, to the academic commitment to quality education. Individuals here have been so welcoming. Everyone is smart and committed. According to Dr. Gawelek, the beauty of the campus and the welcoming environment created by Lourdes staff members were also factors contributing to her decision to relocate.

What are your immediate plans?
“This year I want to concentrate on keeping our enrollment solid and creating an environment where our students are assured they will graduate,” she answered. “We need to see what’s working and what is not. With help from the faculty, we are looking at what we offer our students and examining our programs. Are there other programs that we can roll out? Also, I am talking to local employers to see what they need from our graduates.” We need to help young people and their families make the right choice for them. We want to have students graduate who successfully apply their education to their professional life and understand the importance of giving service to their community and others.

What would you like to see for Lourdes moving forward?
We need to identify whom this university can best serve and help blossom in our environment. Our obligation is to foster that student once he or she arrives on campus. We also hope to figure out what working adults want and need. Lourdes has a rich history of serving non-traditional students from as far back as the 1970s. So, how can we best serve the adult learner? Who are they? Who is serving them now? How can we serve them best based on what we have? We want to make sure that our academic delivery program meets the needs of all of our students. This ties in with looking at other programs we can roll out.

What do you want the community to know about you?
I am always available. I am also very interested in the community and how we as a university can connect. We have an abundance of intellectual capital on campus that we are most willing to share with the community. I want to see Lourdes be an economic driver for the community and will look for different ways for our students and faculty to collaborate with members of the community.

On the personal side, I do like being part of a small community. While I am not a shopper, I like patronizing small businesses. I am a lifetime swimmer and an avid reader. I just need to find times to fit those two activities into my schedule. I also enjoy watching collegiate sports and am looking forward to viewing the Gray Wolves. In the short time that we have been here, my husband and I are feeling very comfortable and I can see that this will easily become home. Even our Golden Retriever rescue Cody Quinn has adapted very well to his new environment!