Lourdes president announces retirement

SYLVANIA — The Lourdes University Board of Trustees and the Sisters of St. Francis leadership have announced the retirement of President Mary Ann Gawelek.

Her last day will be Sept. 30.

“Dr. Gawelek has been instrumental in Lourdes’ growth and did an excellent job leading the University during the pandemic,” said Board Chair William Carroll.

The Lourdes Board of Trustees has appointed Provost Terry Keller as interim president.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Keller and continuing to provide an excellent education for Lourdes students,” Carroll said. “An executive search firm will be hired with an extensive presidential search to follow. The search will be open and we invite all qualified candidates to apply.”

Under Gawelek’s leadership, which started in July 2016, Lourdes University established its first ever doctoral program (online Doctor of Nursing Practice) and now offers many students the opportunity to complete their degrees in the modality that best fits their lives whether in the traditional classroom experience or online.

During her tenure, the university achieved its 10-year accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, gained approval to offer online degree programs, and received accreditation to transition its Nurse Anesthesia Master of Science in Nursing program to a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Academic programs created during Gawelek’s term include Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science, Craft Beverages and Exercise Science

Keller came to Lourdes as assistant professor of social work and has served in increasing leadership roles including dean of the College of Social Sciences, vice president of Academic Affairs and his most recent position provost. In his cabinet level roles, Keller has been responsible for leading the overall direction and management of academic programs. His accomplishments include designing, implementing and successfully managing the university’s Ireland study abroad program. He was also instrumental in establishing the Bachelor of Science in Craft Beverages program, the first of its kind in the U.S.

In addition to his Lourdes duties, Keller was recently elected university director of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs for a three-year term (October 2022-October 2025).

Prior to joining the Lourdes community, Keller taught classes at Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Aquinas College. He earned a Ph.D. in Social Work from Michigan State University, a Master in Business Administration degree from Webster University, a Master in Social Work from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Communication from Aquinas College.