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OLLU welcomes new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sep 23, 2019

Drawn to a university with a student body that matches the diversity of its faculty and staff, Dr. Lourdes María Alvarez has arrived as the new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU).

She brings 26 years of experience in various faculty and administrative positions. Most recently, Dr. Alvarez served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Haven (UNH), where she was involved in academic program and facility development, recruiting and fundraising. 

At UNH, Dr. Alvarez [AL1] actively promoted diversity and inclusion in the curriculum, events programming and faculty and staff hiring.

“Dr. Alvarez brings a keen commitment to social justice in tandem with a passion for rigorous academic education,” said OLLU President Dr. Diane Melby. “I am confident she will provide the leadership to keep the university moving forward.”

At UNH, Dr. Alvarez recruited and developed a diverse, high-quality faculty that is passionate about student success. Under her leadership, new studios and production facilities were built for the Communications Department, research and teaching labs for biology and marine biology were upgraded and a new core curriculum was developed and implemented.

Prior to her tenure at UNH, Dr. Alvarez served as professor, chair and program director for 10 years at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She has been a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Rabat, Morocco, and a faculty member at Bard College in New York.

“It’s an honor to be at OLLU,” Dr. Alvarez said. “It’s humbling and it’s a tremendous responsibility.  I’m the kind of person who loves to connect people and to smooth out the way to help make meaningful things happen.”  

OLLU’s ethnically diverse student body and faculty appealed to Dr. Alvarez. Dr. Melby’s vision also appealed to Dr. Alvarez and aligned with her own vision. 

“President Melby told me about her commitment to making this a national model for schools that serve students from challenging socio-economic backgrounds -- and providing them with the tools and training to lead successful lives that benefit their families and community,” Dr. Alvarez said. “That made me really excited. I thought, ‘This is where I want to be because that’s exactly the kind of work I want to do.’”

A world traveler and former bicycle racer, Dr. Alvarez is a native bilingual in English and Spanish and also proficient in Arabic and French, as well as a number of Romance vernaculars. She served on the boards of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven and the United Way of Greater New Haven.

Dr. Alvarez earned her PhD in Spanish Literature from Yale University, with a dissertation on Arabic-language mystical traditions in Medieval Iberia. She holds a Master of Arts in Spanish from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Neurobiology from the University of California at Berkeley.