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Dear Members of the Stonehill Community,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of DeBrenna LaFa Agbényiga, Ph.D., MBA, MSW as our new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Bringing a wealth of administrative and teaching experience, alongside her innovative, student-centered, and inclusive leadership style, Dr. Agbényiga will join our community and assume her role on December 1st.

A scholar in the fields of social science and business administration, Dr. Agbényiga has an extensive record of leadership, achievement, and service as a professor and administrator. Most recently, she worked as a higher education consultant at Agbényiga Global Education. Prior to her consulting engagement, Dr. Agbényiga served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bowie State University in Maryland, where she was also a full professor with tenure in the Department of Social Work. She also served as Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School at the University of Texas at San Antonio, an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), while maintaining tenure as a full professor in their Department of Social Work. At Michigan State University, Dr. Agbényiga held the role of Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Inclusion in the College of Social Science, as well as Associate Professor with tenure in the School of Social Work.

Upon accepting the position, Dr. Agbényiga shared the following:

“What’s exciting for me is being in a liberal arts academic environment where students have the necessary tools for free thinking, open communication, and collaboration across diverse communities, disciplines, and organizational structures. Stonehill has that kind of energy and commitment to enriching discourse that builds exceptional minds fortified by strong character. It’s what drew me to the College. I am honored by this appointment and am eager to use my experience in successfully moving Stonehill’s mission and strategic goals forward.”

Dr. Agbényiga holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Social Work, as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

With this appointment, Dr. Agbényiga succeeds Interim Co-Provosts Debra Salvucci, Dean of the Meehan School of Business, and Dr. Peter Ubertaccio, Dean of the May School of Arts & Sciences. I thank both Deb and Peter for taking on these added responsibilities and for providing outstanding leadership during a challenging period for the College given the current pandemic. Dr. Agbényiga is the College’s third Provost after Dr. Joseph Favazza (2013-2019) and Dr. Katie Conboy (2008-2013).

Thank you to all members of the Stonehill community who took part in the interviews and open forums. I also extend my gratitude to the Search Committee, which was comprised of the following trustees, faculty, staff, and students:

  • Marsha Moses (Chair), Board of Trustees
  • Pauline Dobrowski (Staff Liaison), Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Rev. Jeffrey Allison, C.S.C., Registrar
  • Nwanne (Dom) Banor, Class of 2022
  • Katie Currul-Dykeman, Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology/Director of the Martin Institute
  • Robyn D’Ambrosio, Class of 2021
  • John Duggan, Assistant Professor/Chair of Business Administration
  • Shayla Jordan, Assistant Director of Human Resources for Employee Development and Policy
  • Rev. Thomas Looney, C.S.C., Board of Trustees
  • José Martínez, Associate Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
  • Anne Mattina (Diversity Advocate), Professor/Chair of Communication
  • John McCoy, Professor of Psychology/Neuroscience Program Director
  • Sheri McCoy, Board of Trustees
  • Akira Motomura, Professor/Chair of Economics
  • Patricia Prue, Board of Trustees
  • Melissa Ratliff, Dean of Graduate Admission
  • Laura Scales, Associate Professor of English/Faculty Senate President
  • Hsin-hao Su, Professor/Chair of Mathematics

Their service and dedication in conducting this critical search was exemplary, and I truly appreciate their time and expert attention they demonstrated throughout the process.

I look forward to working closely with Dr. Agbényiga to achieve our institutional goals, while ensuring our students flourish both personally and professionally. I hope you will join me in extending a warm Stonehill welcome to her as she begins her work at the College.

Sincerely,

Rev. John Denning, C.S.C.
President