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University Names New Provost
The following is a letter from President Walter Harrison.
I am absolutely delighted to announce that the executive committee of the Board of Regents has unanimously approved my recommendation of Sharon L. Vasquez, dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University, to become the provost of the University of Hartford. I am thrilled that we have attracted someone of Sharon's stature, experience, and ability to this position, and I very much look forward to working with her. She will assume her duties here August 15.
When Sharon visited campus as one of four finalists, on May 18, she received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from the faculty, students, staff, and regents who met her. The search committee was equally impressed by her. I am certain that those of you who met her will agree, and the rest of you are in for a great experience when you meet her later this summer or in the fall.
Sharon has had an outstanding career as an artist, an educator, and an academic leader. Born and raised in St. Louis, she decided as a young woman to pursue a professional career in dance. She made a deal with her parents that she would attend two years of college first, so she enrolled in Butler University’s widely acclaimed dance program. After fulfilling her commitment to her parents, she set off to pursue a professional career as a dancer and choreographer. After a successful professional career, she returned to school to pursue a career as a dance educator, and earned a BFA and an MFA in dance from Florida State University.
In 1984 she moved to the University of Texas at Austin to become director of dance in the theatre and dance department. She rose through the academic ranks and became chairperson of the theatre and dance department and holder of the Leslie Waggoner Endowed Professorship in the College of Fine Arts.
In 2000 she moved to the State University of New York at Brockport, where she served as dean of and professor in the School of Arts and Performance. In 2004 she moved to her current position at Wayne State, where she directs a college almost identical in size with our College of Arts and Sciences, our largest college. She has remained active in dance communities and has become very active in accreditation and consulting activities. She has been active with civic and arts organizations in each community in which she has served.
It is exciting to think that the University of Hartford, an institution in which the arts have played such a central role throughout our history, has for the first time been able to attract an accomplished arts educator and administrator to assume its chief academic officer position. In addition to her work in the arts, Sharon has over a decade of outstanding experience as a dean of colleges with a wide diversity of faculty interests and backgrounds.
In Sharon, I believe we have a worthy successor to Lynn Pasquerella, who leaves to become president of Mount Holyoke College on June 30. H. Frederick Sweitzer, assistant provost and dean of faculty development, has accepted my invitation—also approved unanimously by the executive committee—to become interim provost between July 1 and August 14. I am grateful for his willingness to serve in this role during the transition, and I look forward to working with him and Associate Provost Chuck Colarulli during the transition to Sharon’s leadership.
Please join me in welcoming Sharon Vasquez to the University. You may e-mail her at email@example.com. I know she would love to hear from you.
Please also join me in thanking the 15 individuals who served with me on the Provost Search Committee. It was a great deal of fun and an exciting challenge for all of us, but it was also a labor of love for the University. On behalf of all of us, I thank them.