As widely expected, LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY became the first Jesuit college or university to appoint a lay woman as president, announcing tonight that Dr. Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D., the current provost of the school, will succeed Dr. Fred Pestello, who left to become the president of Saint Louis University.
To learn more about Dr. LeMura, see this interview that ran in the January 2013 issue of Connections, a publication of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Asked about why she wanted to work in Jesuit education, Dr. LeMura said:
What drew me to Le Moyne was the desire to be part of an educational endeavor that would be professionally as well as personally significant. The Jesuits have historically set the bar extraordinarily high in establishing and administering schools others would want to emulate. Jesuit education is transformative, distinctive and steeped in history. Having been a first-generation college student, I am quite cognizant of the role the liberal arts play in higher education. I have always been particularly impressed by the ways Jesuit schools have historically integrated the humanities, social and natural sciences to weave the tale of the human experience. The Jesuits really developed interdisciplinary study long before the cachet it enjoys today.
Dr. LeMura brings an impressive resume to her new position. According to the profile in Connections:
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D., has served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Le Moyne since March 2009. Prior to that, she served for two years as acting and interim provost and as the College’s dean of arts and sciences from 2003 to 2007.
A Syracuse native and graduate of Bishop Grimes High School, Dr. LeMura earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and education from Niagara University and a master’s degree and a doctorate, both in applied physiology, from Syracuse University. From 1992 to 2003 she was at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where she served as a professor, graduate program director, and chairperson in the departments of exercise science and biology and allied health sciences. From 1994 to 1995, she was also interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Her fields of research and expertise include pediatric obesity, pediatric applied physiology, lipid metabolism and energy metabolism. She has taught courses in applied physiology, anatomy and physiology, bioethics and the biology of aging.
Readers might also enjoy reading this November 2012 op-ed from Dr. LeMura at Syracuse.com (in affiliation with The Post Standard). Responding to a Newsweek article lamenting some of the lavish perks of modern universities, Dr. LeMura noted:
Originally modeled on medieval monasteries, colleges were supposed to deprive the body and challenge the mind. So, we shared minimally furnished rooms, a single phone on a crowded hallway and bathrooms that were spare at best. We didn’t expect the food to be as good as at home, and we sort of enjoyed the Spartan lifestyle. Times have changed, however, and as a provost, I can’t possibly endorse such an experience, so I’ve advocated for facility improvements on our campus.
As a parent, however, I don’t want my daughter relaxing in a Jacuzzi or enjoying the speediest Wi-Fi connection just so she can download movies in her dorm. Frankly, a little deprivation can be a good thing.
Prayers and best wishes to Dr. LeMura and the LeMoyne faculty, staff and students!