Four Women Who Are Stepping Down From High-Level Posts at Universities

Dorrie K. Fontaine, dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Virginia, will retire on July 31, 2019. Since her arrival at the university in 2008, she oversaw the hiring of more than 60 new faculty members, established new programs and classes, secured a significant amount of funding through grants, and supervised renovations and upgrades to the school’s facilities. “During my tenure as dean, our school’s priorities and fundamental values have never wavered,” Dean Fontaine said. “Compassion, resilience, partnerships and respectful inclusion for all have changed the school in positive ways. I believe a signature of a UVA nursing graduate remains that they are resilient and able to care for themselves so they can better care for others.”

Dr. Fontaine holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Grabau, professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s School of Plant and Environmental Science at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emerita. She has been a member of the Virginia Tech community since 1990. Her research has made significant contributions to plant molecular biology and biotechnology for crop improvement of soybeans and peanuts. Dr. Grabau served as head of the department of plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science from 2006 to 2015. Additionally, she helped to create two graduate programs at the university, in molecular cell biology and biotechnology and translational plant sciences.

Dr. Grabau holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego.

Barbara Laverdiere, director of dining services at Boston University, is retiring after over two decades with the university. After a meal with a friend at the Culinary Institute of America, she realized she could turn her passion for food and cooking into a career. She applied to the program and was enrolled two weeks later in its chef-training program, the sole woman in most classes. During her time at the institute, she had an internship at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, where she was the only woman working in the kitchen at the time. After her graduation from the institute, she joined Aramark, the international food service provider and worked at Boston University for 24 years.

Laverdiere holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in geology and geography.

Ranjanaa Devi, founding director of the Fine Arts Center’s Asian Arts and Culture Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has announced her retirement after 35 years with the university. During her tenure, she has enhanced diversity in the university’s arts education, taught courses in Asian dance, created partnerships between the campus and local schools, and created a travel-abroad study course, among many other accomplishments. Before working at the university, she was an internationally recognized dancer and the artistic director of her own dance company and president of Nataraj Performing Arts of India.

Devi holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Delhi in India.

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