UR names new dean of Arts and Sciences

Kathleen Roberts Skerrett
Kathleen Roberts Skerrett, associate dean and professor of religious studies at Grinnell College, has been appointed dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at University of Richmond, effective July 1.

Skerrett has been a member of Grinnell’s faculty since 1998 and became associate dean in 2007. She previously taught at McGill University in Montreal, after earning her Ph.D. in theology and the modern West from Harvard University in 1993.

She succeeds Andrew F. Newcomb, who is stepping down to resume teaching psychology after 10 years as Arts and Sciences dean.

“We were extraordinarily fortunate to attract a recognized scholar with substantial administrative experience from one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country as our next dean,” said Stephen Allred, Richmond’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. Skerrett generated excitement and gained widespread support from our faculty and staff during the interview process.”

A native of Toronto, Skerrett said she was attracted to Richmond by its leadership, faculty and students.

“The faculty members are innovative and willing to take responsible risks. The students I met were doing exceptional academic programs integrated with service and learning opportunities in the community and abroad. The leadership team and faculty are inspiring. They have vision and heart and the daring to pursue ambitious ideals,” she said.

“I think Richmond is going to be the model for liberal arts education that is responsive to diverse communities in the 21st century,” Skerrett predicted. “The faculty and leadership team have embraced a mandate to create a learning environment unlike any other. They are forging unique undergraduate opportunities through strong interconnections of the School of Arts and Sciences with the schools of aw, business, leadership and continuing studies.”

Skerrett entered Mount Allison University, a premier Canadian undergraduate university, at age 16. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she earned a law degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and passed the bar in Toronto. She returned to graduate school at Harvard to pursue the interdisciplinary studies that continue to motivate her work.

Skerrett’s scholarly research has focused on Christian tradition, contemporary religious thought and gender studies, and political theory. She has published more than a dozen scholarly articles and 30 conference papers on related topics. Skerrett is a frequently invited lecturer at institutions and organizations including the University of Chicago, New York University, King’s College (Halifax, N.S.) and Atlantic School of Theology (Halifax, N.S.), among many others.

Her awards include a Faith and Life Sabbatical Award from the Louisville Institute, an appointment as a visiting fellow at NYU’s Center for Religion and the Media, and a Royal Bank Teaching Innovation Award. She was appointed by her Grinnell College colleagues as an Interdisciplinary Studies Fellow to further collaborative teaching and learning there.

At Grinnell, her extensive service includes an appointment as acting vice president for diversity and achievement, chair of the gender and women’s studies concentration, and membership on the budget, personnel, academic standing and first year seminar and advising committees. Skerrett actively fostered the Grinnell Liberal Arts in Prison Program, now a member of the Consortium for Liberal Arts in Prison at Bard College. At McGill, Skerrett served as a faculty director of a first year residence and chair of the University Task Force on First Year Experience.
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Henrico Public Library wins Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation grant


The Henrico County Public Library system recently won the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation's Library Grant Award, which provides funding, materials and programming from VBCF to help educate citizens about breast cancer.

The grant is given to select libraries in Virginia that apply and is intended to further the VBCF mission to educate the public about breast health and breast cancer. > Read more.

Pet Valu to open in Glen Allen Aug. 26


Pet supplies and accessories retailer Pet Valu will open at 5304 Wyndham Forest Drive in Glen Allen Saturday, Aug. 26.

The store will offer free samples, goody bags, refreshments, raffles and prizes and kid- and pet-friendly entertainment during its first day of business from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. > Read more.

State issues warning about purebred puppy scam


Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is warning Virginia consumers about an active fraud involving purebred puppies.

Herring's Consumer Protection Section recently has received a number of reports of consumers entering into agreements to buy a pet with a company they found online, later to learn the website and the company are a scam – and that no such puppy ever existed. > Read more.

Kaine, McEachin to host Service Academy Day


Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) will co-host their Service Academy Day to educate high school students about the service academy nominations process, an honor awarded by members of Congress for students interested in attending a service academy after high school.

The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Matoaca High School, 17700 Longhouse Lane, Chesterfield 23838. It will provide an opportunity for high school students and parents to learn about the nation’s military academies, a career in military service and the nominations process. > Read more.

Red Cross, Sport Clips offer free haircuts to blood donors


The American Red Cross and Sport Clips are partnering to provide free haircuts to anyone who donates blood or platelets to the Red Cross during September.

Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O negative and O positive, are urgently needed to replenish the blood supply following a critical summer blood shortage. > Read more.

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Henricus Historical Park will offer James River Camp for children aged 9-12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15-17. Campers will explore the environmental features of the historic James River as 17th-century Virginia Indians and the Colonial settlers would have encountered it. Paddle a kayak and identify how the plants and animals of the river were hunted, gathered and used throughout history. Understand the course changes made at Dutch Gap during the Civil War and see how it is used today. Registration is required by Aug. 11 by calling 318-8797. Full text

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