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SMC announces new vice president

Katie Kohler | Friday, February 23, 2007

The nearly yearlong administrative search at Saint Mary’s came to an end Tuesday as the College named Patricia Fleming to the position of vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. She begins her duties on July 1.

Prior to her appointment at Saint Mary’s, Fleming taught philosophy at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. since 1977. There, she focused on environmental and medical ethics and the philosophies of science and social science. In 2001, Creighton appointed Fleming to senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Fleming also recently served on a National Academy of Science committee and currently maintains a White House approved appointment on the Veterans Board on Dose Reconstruction.

“In addition to being a gifted administrator, Dr. Fleming is nationally and internationally known for her research on the ethical implications of nuclear waste disposal,” College President Carol Ann Mooney said in a statement Tuesday.

“Her extensive involvement in Catholic higher education, her scholarly standing, and her administrative skills make her a perfect fit for leading the faculty at Saint Mary’s, and I am excited about working with her.”

Fleming said she looks forward to working at a women’s college and hopes her previous experiences have prepared her for this task.

“There is an abundance of research that proves the value of a single-gender education for women, especially in the greater access it gives women to develop their talents,” she said in a statement. “I have met many impressive students and alumnae who demonstrate Saint Mary’s extraordinary success in that arena.”

While the opportunity is new for Fleming, she said she is ready to take on the challenge.

“It is clear to me, when standing outside Saint Mary’s, that it is the number one Catholic residential college for women in the nation today,” she said. “I am humbled by Saint Mary’s choice in my candidacy and am proud, at the same time, to help the College continue to do its important work.”

Fleming attended Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif., and earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and sociology from Marygrove College in Detroit, Mich. She earned her master’s and doctorate in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Fleming will replace interim Vice President and Dean of Faculty Jill Vihtelic, who Mooney and the recruitment search committee selected last spring to serve in the position for one year. The position originally opened because previous dean, Patrick White, accepted the head role at Wabash College last year.

Last spring, the College also named professors Joseph Incandela and Deborah McCarthy as associate deans of faculty and academic strategies, respectively. Incandela and McCarthy will each serve for three years.

The final appointee last spring was Karen Johnson, who now holds the position of vice president of student affairs. Johnson replaced Linda Timm, who accepted a head role at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee.