Pomona's Coffey named Provost and Dean of Faculty

A nationwide search for a new provost and dean of faculty took Hobart and William Smith on a journey of nearly 2,000 miles — to the campus of Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. That’s where the search committee found Dr. Mary L. Coffey, who assumed her duties at HWS in January.

At Pomona, Coffey served as the Senior Associate Dean in the Office of the Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs. A tenured member of the faculty in Pomona’s Department of Romance Languages and Literature, Coffey is recognized for her expertise in 19th and early-20th century Spanish literature and culture, and is the author of two books on the subject.

“I am thrilled that Professor Coffey has joined Hobart and William Smith,” says President Joyce P. Jacobsen. “She is an exceptionally talented scholar and teacher who has spent the better part of the last decade excelling in complex administrative roles at one of our nation’s top liberal arts institutions, serving the faculty at Pomona with distinction and success. She is already making a positive impact at Hobart and William Smith.”

“When I came to campus I had the chance to meet faculty, staff and students, and they were truly impressive,” says Coffey, who oversees the entire faculty and curriculum at HWS. “There are intelligent and committed people here at HWS, but I would add that there was also real kindness, a quality that is sometimes overlooked but also an essential part of the learning environment. I could see that there was a vibrant community here, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Coffey received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, her master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Northwestern University. She is the recipient of a number of national and international fellowships and grants including from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as a Fulbright-Hayes Research Fellowship. Coffey succeeds Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas, who assumed the role of Interim Provost and Dean of Faculty in 2017. Lucas has since returned to the Political Science Department.


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