Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek began her term as president in July 2016. An innovative visionary, she has already made a tremendous impact on the institution. Under her guidance, Lourdes University successfully achieved its 10 year accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, was approved to offer two new academic programs, and gained approval to offer its first online degree programs.

The Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program marks a milestone in that it is the first doctoral program offered at Lourdes University. In fall 2018, the first online DNP and Master of Education in Special Education cohorts will be welcomed. Meeting the needs of adult learners, the Lourdes Master of Business Administration has begun delivering its distinctive program online as well as its traditional face-to-face model.

In athletics, Lourdes University made national and international news with the addition of E-sports and the opening of a state-of-the-art gaming arena. The University has also added bowling to the NAIA lineup of men’s and women’s sports.

A proud Ohioan, Dr. Gawelek received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and Master of Education and Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology degrees from Boston University.

Prior to her tenure at Lourdes, Dr. Gawelek was the chief academic officer at Seton Hill (1996-2016). While there, she held the rank of Professor in Psychology and served first as Vice President for Academic Affairs and then Provost and Dean of Faculty.

As a leader in academia, Dr. Gawelek has spearheaded licensure efforts for mental health counselors in Massachusetts and provided counseling psychology programs in multiple states. At Lourdes, she has begun the process of enhancing undergraduate social science programs and initiated a new pathway for biology majors to pursue graduate programs in the sciences. The curriculum partnership with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine allows Lourdes students to apply for an Early Acceptance Program in one of three graduate tracks: medicine, dentistry or pharmacy seamlessly without having to take the MCAT.

Dr. Gawelek is leading Lourdes University as it fulfills an aggressive strategic plan focused on community growth and financial stability. Part of the plan involves strengthening partnerships within the business, non-profit, educational and governmental sectors. President Gawelek began the Lourdes Advantage program, a partnership with businesses that allows employees to have access to high quality academic programs with a tuition discount. The program also supports establishing on-site academic delivery such as creating a satellite location at the headquarters of a national agribusiness. She has encouraged greater town-gown relationships within the city of Sylvania through support of the arts and involvement in the Chamber.

Dr. Gawelek’s scholarly interests include the study of gender’s impact on teaching and learning, diversity, and the exploration of how technology can facilitate the development of critical and creative thinking while engaging learners. Throughout her career, she has authored several publications and presentations.

A member of the American Psychological Association, Division 35, Dr. Gawelek has received national recognition for her accomplishments. In 2005, she received the Athena award for professional excellence, community service and mentoring of women. In 2011, she earned the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Officer Award.

Dr. Gawelek has traveled extensively, most recently to Ireland and Italy. She is a lifelong swimmer, an activity that she attributes to feeding her creative thinking. She loves spending time with her family, which includes their golden retriever Cody Quinn and reading a good mystery novel. A voracious reader, she tries to read at least two books a week.