Dann-Messier Departing as RI Commish; Connecticut’s Wentzell Goes to Saint Joseph

By John O. Harney


Comings and Goings …

Rhode Island Postsecondary Education Commissioner Brenda Dann-Messier announced her retirement, effective May 17. Dann-Messier became acting commissioner following the March 2017 departure of Jim Purcell and was approved as commissioner in August 2017. Dann-Messier also served as U.S. assistant secretary of education in the Office of Career, Technical Education and Adult Education under President Barack Obama and as acting U.S. assistant secretary for postsecondary education. Before that, she was president of Dorcas Place Adult & Family Learning Center in Providence, which received a 2008 New England Higher Education Excellence Award. Dann-Messier has been an active member of NEBHE’s Board of Delegates and NEBHE’s Commission on Higher Education & Employability.

Outgoing Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell will join the University of Saint Joseph as the West Hartford, Conn. university’s interim director of clinical education, starting in summer 2019. Wentzell was appointed commissioner by then-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2015 and has been serving on an interim basis since January.

Lesley University selected Janet L. Steinmayer, president of Mitchell College in New London, Conn., to be its next president, succeeding Interim President Richard S. Hansen at the Cambridge, Mass. university.

Sarah Whiting, dean of Rice University School of Architecture, was named dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, effective July 1, succeeding Mohsen Mostafavi, who is stepping down after more than 11 years of service.

Vermont Technical College selected UMass Amherst Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Ana M. Gaillat to be its dean of academic affairs.

Bentley University named Josh Brand, former managing director at Harvard Business Printing’s corporate learning unit, to Bentley’s new position of vice president for external relations, where he will oversee Bentley’s Nathan R. Miller Center for Career Services, the Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business and Bentley’s executive education portfolio.

Suffolk University appointed Julie Sandell, a Boston University senior associate provost and faculty member of the BU School of Medicine, to be Suffolk’s next senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Gloria Lopez, former vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Hampshire College, was named vice president for student affairs at Westfield State University, where she will oversee student affairs, the department of athletics, the career center, public safety and aspects of residential life.


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