Hobart and William Smith recruits provost from California

A college administrator and comparative literature scholar from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., will become the next provost and dean of faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Mary L. Coffee
Mary L. Coffey

The colleges announced the appointment of Mary L. Coffey earlier this week. She is due to start her new job in January.

“I am thrilled that Professor Coffey will be joining Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” said HWS President Joyce P. Jacobsen. “She is an exceptionally talented scholar and teacher who has dedicated the better part of the last decade excelling in complex administrative roles on a liberal arts campus, serving the faculty at Pomona with distinction and success.”

Coffey will succeed DeWayne Lucas, who had been filling the position on an interim basis. He is due to take a brief sabbatical and then return to teaching in political science.

Coffey currently works as senior associate dean at Pomona and on the faculty of the college’s Department of Romance Languages and Literature. She is a scholar in 18th and early 20th century Spanish literature and culture and has written two books on aspects of Spanish literature. She has also served as chair of her department twice, and of the anthropology department for a year, and as acting vice president of Pomona College last summer

The new provost holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in comparative literature from Northwestern University. Coffey’s husband, Robert Pavich, is a middle-school math teacher in Los Angeles and will relocate to the Geneva area after the end of the academic year.

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