Holy Cross Names Margaret Freije Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean

March 7th, 2014 by 

Freije
Image by John Buckingham

Following an extensive national search, Margaret N. Freije, Ph.D., has been named vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of the Holy Cross.

The announcement was made today by Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president.

Freije, who has been serving as interim vice president and dean since July of 2013 when her predecessor Timothy R. Austin left the post to become provost of Duquesne University, will assume her new role immediately.

A mathematician and leader in Jesuit higher education, she is the first woman to hold the top academic post at the College.  As vice president and dean, Freije provides leadership and day-to-day management for all facets of the academic life of the College. She also serves as a member of the President’s Executive Team, helping set strategic priorities for the College.

“I am delighted that Margaret has assumed this critically important post at Holy Cross,” said Fr. Boroughs.  “I am confident—and the Search Committee concurred— that she has the skills, background and experience needed to move the College forward.  Her administrative experience, teaching excellence, academic accomplishments, and scholarship add up to the right fit for Holy Cross today and in the future.  Her deep understanding of and commitment to our Jesuit mission and Catholic identity will provide the leadership to propel us forward.”

“I am excited and energized to begin this new chapter to advance the future of Holy Cross,” said Freije. “Holy Cross has been my academic home for 28 years. I look forward to working together with faculty, staff, students and alumni in the days, months and years ahead to build on the College’s solid academic foundation and to deepen its commitment to the teaching, learning and scholarship that are hallmarks of Jesuit liberal arts education.”

A native of New York, Freije earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Boston College in 1980, and her Ph.D. in mathematics at Brown University in 1986. A specialist in algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry, Freije arrived at Holy Cross in the fall of 1986, and quickly began distinguishing herself as a teacher and scholar, and through her administrative contributions to the College. Prior to her appointment as interim dean, she served as Associate Dean of the College from 2004 to 2013 (including as acting registrar in 2005) and was responsible for the oversight of the curriculum, student academic support and a variety of academic programs including study abroad and Montserrat.

She also served as Assistant Dean for Curriculum Management (2003-04), and Class Dean (1995-2003) for the Class of 1999 and the Class of 2003.  She is a faculty member in the department of mathematics and computer science, and recently she has taught in the Montserrat program as well as courses in game theory, chaos theory, calculus, multivariable calculus, linear algebra and abstract algebra.

She has served on pivotal College committees, including the Curriculum Committee, the First Year Program Committee, the Presidential Task Force on Diversity, the Student Life Council and the Mission and Identity Committee. She has also been a faculty representative to the Trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee.

She was honored with the Holy Cross Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997 and was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts in 2003.

She is the recipient of a number of grants and awards, including the NECUSE Grant, “Innovative Methods in the Teaching of Mathematics,” (with Holy Cross colleague David Damiano) and the 1992 Hewlett-Mellon Award, “Revising the Calculus Sequence.”

Central to her time at Holy Cross has been work to advance Jesuit mission and identity.  In 2011, she was appointed by former President Michael C. McFarland, S.J., to the Presidential Colloquium on Jesuit Liberal Arts at Holy Cross to develop a document that provides a vision for Jesuit liberal arts education at the College. In 2010-11, she participated in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ Ignatian Colleagues Program, and subsequently became a member of the ICP leadership team and small group facilitator for the 2013 cohort.

She was co-facilitator of a year-long faculty workshop at Holy Cross on the commitment to the promotion of justice in Jesuit education, designing a series of seminars and an immersion trip to El Salvador. She was a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Seminar on Higher Education Leadership in June 2005, and participated in the Ignatian Pilgrimage to sites in Spain and Italy with Holy Cross and AJCU colleagues in June of 2007.

Her professional memberships include the American Association of University Women, American Conference of Academic Deans, Association of American Colleges and Universities, and many others.

Her published work and presentations include coauthor (with Damiano) of “Multivariable Calculus” (Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2012);  as well as essays and presentations on Jesuit  education, mission, and the liberal arts.

She lives in Worcester with her husband Richard M. Freije, an attorney. They are the parents of three children, Daniel, a graduate of Amherst College and current graduate student in creative writing at the University of Wyoming; Christine, a 2013 graduate of Holy Cross working in theatre in Philadelphia; and Matthew, a high school student.

Media Coverage

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

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