Maria Donoghue Velleca, who had been scheduled to begin as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, decided not to join the university, Provost Pat Farrell said in a June 20 email. Cameron Wesson, interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, will extend his duties until Aug. 1. (Courtesy of Lehigh University website)

Incoming CAS Dean Maria Donoghue Velleca withdraws from position

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Maria Donoghue Velleca, who was scheduled to be the incoming dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, withdrew from her position, an email from Provost Pat Farrell said this morning.

Velleca, set to begin work on June 30, did not feel that the position was the best fit for her, Farrell’s email said.

Cameron Wesson, interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, will extend his duties until Aug. 1. Wesson recently announced he would leave Lehigh to begin work as a provost and dean at Franklin and Marshall College.

Farrell will select another interim dean after Wesson’s Aug. 1 departure, the email said.

A search committee will reconvene to find a new dean as soon as possible. Farrell’s email did not state whether the committee would be the same one that selected Velleca.

Lori Friedman, Lehigh’s director of Media Relations, did not provide more information.

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  1. And the exodus continues… there must be more to this story for her withdraw less than two weeks before she was scheduled to start. Surely she should have realized the position “wasn’t the best fit for her” long before now!

    The sudden dearth of leadership at Lehigh is truly alarming. Provost Farrell stepping down and taking sabbatical next year combined with the incoming CAS Dean withdrawing and the CAS Interim Dean leaving for F&M leaves the CAS adrift with a broken tiller, all at the same time the new College of Health is launching in fall with the supposed intent to provide interdisciplinary programs between the colleges. Needless to say, the “Path to Prominence” is off to a bumpy start.

    Add to that alleged negligence by the administration in ignoring reports of inappropriate behavior by a physician in the Health and Wellness Center:

    https://thebrownandwhite.com/2019/05/31/lehigh-doctor-suspended-after-allegations-of-sexual-misconduct/

    which is under the supposed “leadership” of Vice Provost of Student Affairs Rick Hall. Unfortunately, Mr. Hall seems more content spending his time playing racquetball, having underage students arrested for drinking and destroying what’s left of Lehigh’s Greek system than taking seriously allegations of improprieties by staff towards vulnerable students. At the same time, Lehigh’s current students feel a huge disconnect between themselves and the university, which they believe is completely ignoring them as it implements huge changes on campus socially, physically, and academically. So much so that they are advising their friends and relatives who were recently accepted to Lehigh not to come (I have heard this from multiple parents and students). If anyone is not a “fit” for Lehigh it is Rick Hall, who would be doing Lehigh a huge favor by moving on himself, if he is not forced to step down as a result of the lawsuit – which he might want to consider doing voluntarily. His Lehigh “stepping stone” to his next position is sinking fast into the muddy Lehigh quagmire, and he’d do well to jump soon before he is swallowed up by it completely. The sooner he leaves the less additional damage he can inflict.

    It is beyond sad what is happening to Lehigh. I hope it is not too late to save it from self-destructing.

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