Richard Prigodich Named Interim Dean of the Faculty

Chemistry Professor will replace departing Dean Rena Fraden

HARTFORD, CT, January 22, 2013 – Richard V. Prigodich, a chemistry professor with a long history of leadership and service at the College, has been named interim dean of the faculty, replacing Rena Fraden, who has accepted a position at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.

Interim Dean of the Faculty
Richard V. Prigodich

The appointment of Prigodich, who has been a member of the Trinity faculty since 1985, was made by President James F. Jones, Jr., who said that Prigodich’s acceptance of the post “will enable us to continue the critical duties of leadership and administration inherent in this key position.” As the chief academic officer and the second-ranking official at the College, Prigodich will report directly to the president.

Jones said in a communication to the campus community Monday that the job will be filled from within, and that the new dean will serve a three-year term that will begin on July 1 and conclude on June 30, 2016. Jones said he decided that was the best course of action after consulting with faculty members and trustees.

“I have concluded that it is in the College’s best interest not to mount a national search at this time for a permanent dean of the faculty,” he wrote.

Under this approach, Fraden’s successor would serve during the final two years of Jones’ presidency and the first year of his successor’s. That will allow Trinity’s new president “a grace year” during which time he or she would commence a search for a chief academic officer.

Jones said he will work with Michael Lestz, secretary of the faculty, to identify members of the faculty who would like to serve on the search committee. Other members will include three trustees – Philip Khoury, Kevin Maloney, and Bill Richardson – and Paul Mutone, vice president of finance and operations and treasurer. Assisting in the search will be Mary Jo Keating, secretary of the college and vice president of college relations and David Andres, assistant to the president. Jones said he will accept nominations.

Fraden, outgoing dean of the faculty and vice president of academic affairs, will become dean of the College of the Pacific. Jones praised Fraden’s 6 ½-year tenure, saying, “She has done as I had asked her years back and has sought excellent candidates to bring to our distinguished faculty ranks, has inaugurated three new Centers that have added considerably to the academic mission of the College, and has been one of the most supportive of deans in recent memory in helping to bring foundation and personal gifts to forward the College’s academic mission.”

Fraden, who was also the G. Keith Funston Professor of English and American Studies, taught first-year seminars, and mentored and encouraged her colleagues and those she worked with. “She has striven to support faculty, staff and students in all their endeavors in spite of the economic challenges of the past seven years,” said Jones.

Fraden will be on sabbatical for the spring semester.

Prigodich served as chair of the chemistry department from 1994 through 2005, during which time he initiated semester-long research seminar and summer research programs for undergraduates, increased departmental student advising sessions, and oversaw the acquisition of several major additions to the department’s capital equipment inventory.

He was a member of the Science Alliance Steering Committee for six years and acted as interim director for one year. He also was co-chair of the faculty/trustee Special Committee on Institutional Administration and Governance.

Among other activities, Prigodich served on the Curriculum Committee for 11 years, was a founding member of the Math Center Advisory Committee, and was instrumental in the creation of the Interdisciplinary Science and the Environmental Science programs. He has served on the Faculty Research Committee, the Educational Policy Committee, and the Appointments and Promotions Committee.

Prigodich received his B.S. in chemistry from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL and his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Wesleyan University. From 1982 to 1985, he was a National Institutes of Health Post-Doctoral Fellow in the molecular biophysics and biochemistry department at Yale University.