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Depaolo Named Georgia College & State University President

Atlanta — July 9, 1997

Dr. Rosemary DePaolo thumbnail
Dr. Rosemary DePaolo

Dr. Rosemary DePaolo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, North Carolina, has been named president of Georgia College & State University by the Board of Regents and University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen Portch.

DePaolo, 49, will become the first woman president of the institution which at one point in its history (1922-1967) served women only, when it was the Georgia State College for Women. The new president will join the University on August 1, 1997.

“DePaolo will bring an exciting brand of leadership to Georgia College & State University,” Portch stated. “She is extremely committed to the liberal arts and to the teaching mission, as reflected in her background and her track record. And she has the added advantage of having strong ties to our state and the University System. We are pleased to enable Rosemary’s return to Georgia–this time as a University president–particularly at an institution which so closely mirrors her professional interests and commitment.”

DePaolo has served in her current post at Western Carolina University, an institution of 6,800 students, since 1993. Her academic career includes previous positions as a faculty member and administrator at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and what was then known as Augusta College in Augusta .

As chief administrator for WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences, a unit with 150 full-time faculty, DePaolo is responsible for all day-to-day operational functions. During her tenure, she played a key role in securing approval and planning monies for a $28 million fine and performing arts center; arranging summer residencies with the Atlanta Ballet and the Charleston Symphony; establishing the College’s first endowed professorship, in music performance, working with the College of Business to establish an endowment for women in business, advancing an environmental emphasis in the College and securing the largest private gift from a living alumna of the institution to form the University’s Center for Environmental Research. DePaolo also supported enhancements in technology within the College, securing full computerization for all faculty, and worked with faculty to develop salary equity studies.

In a collaborative initiative between three Western Carolina area universities, businesses and craft persons, DePaolo also chaired a committee of inter-institutional representatives which created the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, an effort aimed at positioning craft works as a driving force in the regional economy. The initiative was the outgrowth of a regional development project funded by the Pugh Charitable Trust.

From 1990-93, DePaolo served as the assistant dean of curriculum and student services of the College of Arts and Sciences and as a professor of humanities at Georgia Southern, during a period when the University was cited as the fastest-growing in the country. Georgia Southern experienced extreme pressure to accommodate students. DePaolo managed data collection and generation regarding program growth, enrollments and graduation statistics within the College, and shared responsibility for student registration procedures. She also was responsible for administration of the Botanical Garden, a major outreach and fundraising initiative which utilized a 19th century farm house to teach environmental education. DePaolo is credited with securing a major grant from the American Association of Colleges (now the American Association of Colleges and Universities) to strengthen the training of education majors by infusing the liberal arts into the University’s education programs. She also helped to develop the Humanities Forum, an interdisciplinary series offered throughout the University.

From 1979-1990, DePaolo held faculty and administrative posts at what is now Augusta State University, moving from assistant to associate professor of English in the Department of Languages and Literature, and then on to professor of humanities in the Department of Fine Arts. She also served as director of the humanities program at Augusta State from 1980-90, and as director of Augusta State’s Center for the Humanities from 1988-90. DePaolo built the College’s award-winning humanities program and established the Center which promoted a strong town-gown relationship through work with the public schools, the medical, arts and business communities.

DePaolo earned her Ph.D. in eighteenth century English literature in 1979, and her M.A. in 1974, both from Rutgers University. She holds a B.A. from Queens College of the City University of New York. DePaolo also served as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in 1970, and attended the HERS Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration at Bryn Mawr College.

DePaolo is an author and presenter on topics ranging from integrating liberal and professional education to teaching interdisciplinary courses to Hogarth and Agatha Cristie murder mysteries. She also is an active consultant in the humanities and program assessment and a participant in peer review panels for the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, DePaolo is a member of several national and regional professional associations, including: the executive board of the Southern Humanities Council, the Council of Colleges of Arts and Science, the American Association of University Administrators, the American Conference of Academic Deans, the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, and the American Association of University Women.

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