Commonwealth Honors College names new, permanent dean

By Marie MacCune

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The Commonwealth Honors College residential area (James Jesson/Daily Collegian)

The Commonwealth Honors College residential area (James Jesson/Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts announced the naming of Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina as permeant dean of Commonwealth Honors College in a press release Monday afternoon. She will begin July 15.

The release called Gerzina an “internationally renowned scholar and author.”

The Commonwealth Honors College has been without a permanent dean since the death of Dean Priscilla Clarkson during the summer of 2013. Daniel Gordon, who was previously serving as associate dean, was appointed interim dean Aug. 29, 2013.

According to the press release, Gerzina, a Springfield native, is currently serving as the Kathe Tappe Vernon professor of biography and the chair of the department of African and African-American studies at Dartmouth College. Gerzina’s field of expertise includes Victorian literature, biography, African American literature, and the “story of black people in England.”

UMass Amherst Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Katherine Newman said in the release, “Professor Gerzina is a public intellectual of great depth and range. She embodies everything we treasure in higher education: extraordinary scholarship, close attention to the interests and needs of students and that ‘true North’ sense of leadership that will carry the Commonwealth Honors College to even greater heights.”

Marie MacCune can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MarieMacCune.