Administrative Transition

By Kelsey Littlefield

Frank Vellaccio, Ph.D., senior vice president, and Jacqueline Peterson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, will each step down from their roles at the College of the Holy Cross, effective July 1, 2017.

Vellaccio has held his position since July 2000 after serving for two years as the acting president of the College. He has served the College in many  other administrative and academic positions over the last four decades, including the positions of provost, academic vice president, dean of the College, interim dean of the College,  and associate professor of chemistry.

In his role as senior vice president, Vellaccio oversees the areas of Admissions, Assessment and Research, Athletics, College Marketing and Communications, Financial Aid, Government and Community Relations, Strategic Initiatives and Corporate and Foundation Relations. He also serves on the President’s Executive Team, directs institutional strategic planning, and coordinates the work of the College’s Advisory Board.

“Vellaccio’s contributions to the life and stability of the College over many years have been monumental,” recalled Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president. Vellaccio will continue to work at Holy Cross by supporting the Office of Advancement in the Become More Campaign and assisting the president with special projects.

Dean Peterson, who has served the College over the last two decades, is the first woman and black vice president. During her career, she established the Division of Student Affairs as a critical component of the College’s commitment to educate the whole student. Under her leadership, Holy Cross Student Affairs received national recognition from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as one of the most promising places to work in student affairs.

Prior to coming to Holy Cross, Dean Peterson served as the vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. and was the first chief diversity officer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., where she also held various student affairs positions. She has served as the president of the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators, is currently a commissioner for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Worcester Academy as well as several other local boards. After Holy Cross, Dean Peterson will continue to contribute to higher education in addition to supporting her family foundation.

Fr. Boroughs has appointed Margaret Freije, Ph.D, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, as provost, effective July 1, 2017. Dean Freije’s oversight will expand to include the Offices of Admissions, Financial Aid and Institutional Assessment: all of which will continue to support assessment efforts across the College.

In Fr. Boroughs’ address to the campus community, he also stated the creation of a new position: vice president of communications, who will oversee internal and external campus communications, marketing endeavors, and government and community relations.

Isaacson, Miller—a recruiting, nonprofit Boston-based organization that searches for exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations—will conduct the search for staff for vice president of communications and vice president for student affairs. Mary Ebbott, professor of classics, will chair the search committee for the vice president of communications, and Rev. William Campbell, S.J., vice president of mission, will chair the search committee for the vice president of student affairs.

“While transitions in higher educational institutions are a natural part of our way of life, they are rarely easy for closely connected institutions like our own. Our size and sense of community support great friendships as well as a certain constancy in our way of doing things,” stated Fr. Boroughs. “As a community, we are deeply grateful for all that Vellaccio and Dean Peterson have given to us, and because of their extraordinary service over many years, we are in a strong position for the future.”

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