Mary Coffey

Mary Coffey is the new provost and dean of faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

GENEVA — Hobart and William Smith Colleges has a new provost and dean of faculty, Mary Coffey.

Mary Coffey currently serves as the senior associate dean at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., in the Office of the Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs, which HWS said is the equivalent of its Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs.

HWS said she is a tenured member of the faculty in Pomona’s Department of Romance Languages and Literature and that Coffey is recognized for her expertise on 19th and early-20th century Spanish literature and culture.

“I am thrilled that Professor Coffey will be joining Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” said HWS President Joyce Jacobsen. “She is an exceptionally talented scholar and teacher who has dedicated the better part of the last decade excelling in complex administrative roles on a liberal arts campus, serving the faculty at Pomona with distinction and success. I am especially grateful to the search committee that managed this process and to DeWayne Lucas, whose leadership of the Colleges as interim provost and dean of faculty is greatly appreciated.”

Following a brief sabbatical, Lucas will return to the Political Science Department, the Colleges said.

Coffey begins her duties at Hobart and William Smith Jan. 15. Her husband, Robert Pavich, a middle school teacher of mathematics at the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, will join Coffey in Geneva at the conclusion of the school’s 2019-20 academic year, the Colleges added.

HWS said Coffey served as chair of Pomona’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures two times, first from 2007-2010 and again in 2013. She directed the Pacific Basin Institute from 2017-18 and chaired Pomona’s Department of Anthropology from 2018-19.

The Colleges said Coffey joined Pomona’s academic leadership team in 2016, serving as associate dean, senior associate dean, and, in the summer of 2019, acting vice president.

HWS said Coffey “has helped manage a substantial budget in support of Pomona’s academic mission, working with staff and faculty in sponsored research, the registrar’s office, institutional research, the Writing Center, the Museum of Art and study abroad.”

Coffey received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, her master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Northwestern University. She is the author of two books: “Imagined Truths: Realism in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture,” co-edited with Margot Versteeg (University of Toronto Press, Iberic series, June 2019) and “Ghosts of Colonies Past and Present: Spanish Imperialism in the Fiction of Benito Pérez Galdós” (Liverpool University Press, expected in spring 2020). She has written extensively on the realist fiction of Perez Galdós, presenting her work at conferences and invited lectures around the world. She is the recipient of a number of national and international fellowships and grants including from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as a Fulbright-Hayes Research Fellowship.

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