Lourdes University Names 10th President

GawelekMary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D., Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, has been appointed the 10th President of Lourdes University. After conducting a national search which garnered candidates from 11 states, Dr. Gawelek was selected overwhelmingly by Lourdes University, its sponsor the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania and the institution’s Board of Trustees. She will begin her role as President on July 1, 2016, with an inauguration planned during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Dr. Gawelek has been in her current position with Seton Hill University since 1996. In addition to her role as Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Gawelek is a Professor of Psychology and taught a capstone liberal arts course annually. Prior to joining Seton Hill, she served as Dean for Counseling Psychology and Clinical Education at the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA.

“As an Ohio native I have long been aware of Lourdes University,” says Dr. Gawelek. “I am drawn to a university that seeks to develop graduates who are thoughtful, critical and imaginative problem solvers, committed to service and ethical leadership.”

“Having served at a Catholic liberal arts university for 20 years, Dr. Gawelek’s breadth of administrative and academic experience resonated with the Lourdes University community. She truly understands our Catholic and Franciscan mission, values, and vision,” offers Sr. Mary Jon Wagner, OSF, Congregational Minister for the Sisters of St. Francis.


At Seton Hill, Dr. Gawelek has implemented nine graduate programs including a post-doctoral, freestanding orthodontics program and six new undergraduate programs. She has supervised E-magnify, the university’s women’s business center and a center for entrepreneurship as a focus of the university’s efforts to stimulate economic growth in the region.  Her work in facilitating thoughtful innovative academic programming has resulted in holistic learning and high student retention rates. To that end, her vision and direction led to the University receiving two Title III grants and she was instrumental in securing federal funding for technology. Of note, she also secured funds through the Department of Defense in support of science programs and state, federal and foundation dollars for construction of academic buildings and the development of new programs.

As Provost, she played a pivotal leadership role at the institution during critical times in its history including its transition to a coeducational institution and achieving status as a University.

Having led three successful strategic planning processes, Dr. Gawelek directs the institution’s assessment program including all accreditation activities and co-leads the university’s mobile technology initiative that is recognized as an Apple Distinguished program four years running.


Dr. Gawelek received her Doctor of Education and Master of Education degrees in Counseling Psychology from Boston University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. A Counseling Psychologist, she held a variety of faculty and administrative positions at Lesley College from 1982 to 1996. A published author and respected expert in higher education, Dr. Gawelek has presented nationally and internationally.


A member of several professional and community organizations, Dr. Gawelek currently serves on the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania Board; the Westmoreland Cultural Trust; Blackburn Center Against Domestic and Sexual Violence; and the Women’s Leadership Council of Westmoreland County.

Dr. Gawelek is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 35. In 2005, she was the Athena award winner for professional excellence, community service and mentoring of women. In 2011, Dr. Gawelek was recognized by the Council of Independent Colleges through receipt of the Chief Academic Officer award.

For her tireless efforts and volunteer work, Dr. Gawelek received the 2013 Community Champion Award from the United Way of Westmoreland County. In accepting the award, she stressed the importance of individuals to “care deeply about improving the quality of life in their community.”

Comments are closed.