Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek

Mary 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.

View the press conference and Dr. Gawelek’s presidential remarks.


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.

Leading an institution

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.

Education and accomplishments

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.

Professional Memberships and Recognition

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.”

52 responses to “Lourdes University names 10th President

    1. That’s an amazing accomplishment !! Congratulations ! So proud to know you forso many years as a dear friend!!

  1. Lourdes University is on the path to a bright future with Dr. Gawelek as leader! Congratulations to all!

  2. Lourdes has just appointed for itself a wonderful person who will make a wonderful president. Congrats

  3. I think Lourdes University will be very pleased with this choice. Congratulations to them and to Dr. Gawelek!

  4. So happy to have a “Madame President” this soon in 2016! Welcome to Lourdes!

  5. Welcome to the Community, you will be a wonderful addition. I look forward to working with you. Many Blessings!

  6. Congratulations Dr. Gawelek! Much deserved and we know you’ll do amazing things! But we will miss you!!!

  7. Congratulations! I am sure that the gifts and talents that you brought to Seton Hill will be equally beneficial to Lourdes. Sylvania looks like a very pleasant town, but I imagine you will miss our mountains.

  8. Congratulations, Mary Ann! I am so happy for you and proud to call you my friend. Great things happen to good people. Good Luck and keep in touch.

  9. My dear friend and former student from grade school and high school, I am so very proud of you. I know you will do very well at Lourdes and I am wishing you only the blessings of a successful tenure. Love, Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, SC

  10. Mary Ann: It was an honor working for you for 4 years at Seton Hill. I wish you all the best in your new role.

  11. Lourdes University hit the jackpot! Congratulations, Mary Ann! Wishing you much joy as you begin this journey!

  12. Congratulations to Dr. Gawelek, but an even stronger congratulations to Lourdes University. Having worked with her on several local boards, it is clear to me that those charged with the search have done their task well, in choosing such an outstanding leader and quality person. May God continue to bless.

  13. Congratulations to Dr. Gawelek, but an even stronger congratulations to Lourdes University. Having worked with her on several local boards, it is clear to me that those charged with the search have done their task well, in choosing such an outstanding leader and quality person

  14. I admired you my dear Classmate in High School, can you imagine what I think of you now. Many blessings, prayers and love as you make this New Journey one of your most exciting! So proud of you, Dr. Gawelek

  15. Mary Ann, Lourdes is fortunate to have you in leadership. You have demonstrated throughout your academic career creative, strong, and compassionate leadership
    Best wishes

  16. Lourdes University is positioned for a very bright future led by one of the most thoughtful, wise and compassionate leaders I have ever known. Congratulations, Mary Ann! We are all so very proud of you and wish you much deserved success! Warmly, Jayne

      1. Congratulations Lourdes you have a great colleague who I had the pleasure to work with at Seton Hill University. A bright future ahead.

  17. Congratulations to the students, faculty, administration and entire Lourdes community. You chose so well. We will miss Mary Ann in Southwestern PA.

  18. Welcome to Lourdes University and the beautiful campus of the Sisters of St. Francis. Many prayerful wishes, Sister Luke Wodarski

  19. Congratulations to both Mary Ann and Lourdes! They are lucky to have such a strong leader as they have in Mary Ann.

  20. Congratulations Mary Ann! Lourdes is blessed to inherit your talents and wisdom. Your vision, hard work and dedication will surely shape Lourdes future as it did Seton Hill’s

  21. Congratulation Mary Ann. You have demonstrated a commitment to fostering a community that values and celebrates learning, service and diversity. Your skills and talents will serve Lourdes University well.
    May you continue to “fit ‘students’ for that world in which ‘they’ are destined to live”. Be blessed.

  22. As your colleague in Counseling Psychology during your days at Lesley University, and as an admirer of your work at Seton Hill, I am sure beyond doubt that you will lead Lourdes to the heights as you have in every role you’ve undertaken! Congratulations many times over!

  23. Mary Ann, I am so proud to say you are my friend since 1st grade and am in awe of all your achievements. You truly went ALL THE WAY!!!!!

  24. Congratulations, Mag — and from your god-daughter, too (by proxy)! You’ve been headed here all along…and now you’ve arrived! Super!!

  25. Congratulations and best wishes, Mary Ann! Lourdes has appointed an outstanding leader and visionary!

  26. Congratulations, Mary Ann! Best wishes for a successful tenure at Lourdes University. Thank you for understanding the needs of all students and the future direction of education for the University. I’m sure you will accomplish great things at Lourdes University.

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