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Holy Cross Names Elliott Visconsi ’95 Provost and Dean of the College

January 24th, 2023 by 

The College of the Holy Cross has named Elliott Visconsi, an academic leader and class of 1995 alumnus, as its new provost and dean of the College, following an extensive national search in partnership with Isaacson, Miller. 

Starting on July 1, Visconsi will lead the College’s academic enterprise, serving as a key member of the president’s senior leadership team, working to develop and enhance the College’s academic programs, foster innovation and interdisciplinary discovery, and advance scholarship and academic excellence.

He succeeds Margaret Freije, who served as provost and dean of the College from 2014 to 2022, and Ann Marie Leshkowich, interim provost since July 1, 2022.

“Elliott has an impressive track record of collaborative academic innovation, cross-disciplinary experience in academic leadership, and work building effective, evidence-based and engaging learning for students,” said Holy Cross President Vincent D. Rougeau. “His deep understanding of our Jesuit mission and Catholic identity, as an alumnus of the College, as well as commitment to the principles of inclusive liberal arts education, will help provide the leadership to propel us forward.”

A passionate advocate for liberal arts education and a believer in the transformative potential of the residential undergraduate experience, Visconsi currently serves as associate provost and chief academic digital officer at the University of Notre Dame. In this role, he leads Notre Dame’s approach to innovative learning and teaching strategies—including digital learning, interinstitutional collaboration and experimental models for the future of education. 

A scholar of early modern English literature, freedom of expression and First Amendment law, Visconsi has been at Notre Dame since 2010. His academic research is devoted to law, literature and political thought in the early modern Anglo-American world, especially in relation to racial identity and religious pluralism; he also writes about academic freedom and free speech in the digital age, especially the interactions of disinformation, persuasion and democracy.

Visconsi holds a A.B. in English, cum laude, from Holy Cross, a Ph.D. in English literature from UCLA and an M.S.L. from Yale Law School. The recipient of distinguished fellowships from the Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, he often presents on matters related to academic freedom, campus freedom of speech in the digital age, and academic innovation to audiences at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.

A native of the Cleveland area, Visconsi is married to fellow Holy Cross graduate Maura (Cullen) Visconsi ‘95, an elementary educator. They are the parents of three children.

“Animated by its Jesuit mission, fueled by its tradition of academic excellence and inspired by the capacious vision of President Rougeau, Holy Cross is ideally suited to serve as a model for the future of undergraduate education,” Visconsisaid. “I am honored to return to Mount St. James as provost and dean of the college, and grateful for the opportunity to work side by side with our world-class faculty, staff and students to advance the College.”

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