Professor Maria Donoghue Velleca (Photo by Paul Jones/Georgetown University)
February 21, 2019 — Professor Maria Donoghue Velleca, a fixture in the Department of Biology and the Georgetown College Dean’s Office for more than a decade, has been named the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University.
“Maria Donoghue is a fine scholar, excellent strategic thinker, and a brilliant administrator,” Georgetown College Dean Chris Celenza said. “I will feel her loss here at Georgetown, even as I congratulate the faculty and administration of Lehigh University on their recruitment of a real leader.”
A neuroscientist by training, Donoghue Velleca came to Georgetown in 2006 from Yale Medical School. She excelled in all aspects of scholarship, conducting innovative research and quickly becoming a student favorite in the classroom.
Donoghue Velleca has mentored research projects for advanced students, but she may be best known for her skill in making biology accessible for students regardless of prior knowledge or ambition. She teaches introductory courses in neurobiology, as well as a popular biology course for non-majors that tackles scientific concepts through major issues in the news. She also spearheaded the development of the undergraduate major in neurobiology.
From 2015 to 2017, Donoghue Velleca added academic administration to her already impressive portfolio by serving as Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Strategic Planning. She oversaw hiring, managed the College’s operating budget, and served as a liaison between the Dean’s Office and more than 500 faculty members.
“Maria is a highly respected researcher and instructor, an accomplished administrator and a strong believer in the enduring importance of the arts and sciences,” said Lehigh provost Patrick V. Farrell. “In our discussions with Maria, it quickly became apparent that she has both an appreciation for the legacy of our College and an ambitious vision that will allow us to build on our success going forward. We could not be more pleased to welcome her to Lehigh and know that we have found a strong and capable steward for CAS.”
The College thanks Professor Donoghue Velleca for her years of service to the university as a pioneering researcher, engaging teacher, and exemplary academic in the liberal arts tradition.