Westminster's New Hires Bring Diversity, Unique Perspectives to Campus

Jun 10, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY — Westminster has named Lisa Gentile, Ph.D., as the new dean of the college’s School of Arts and Sciences, and Nohemy Solorzano-Thompson, Ph.D., as the associate provost for Diversity and Global Learning. Their appointments begin July 1, 2013.

Dr. Lisa Gentile

In her new position, Gentile will oversee the college’s core academic units, which offer courses and degrees across the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The School of Arts and Sciences enrolls a majority of the student body and is committed to student learning through the integration of academics and practical experience.

Prior to her position at Westminster, Dr. Gentile was a 15-year faculty member, having spent the last 7 years at the University of Richmond, and served as the associate dean of Arts & Sciences, where she focused on working with the community on diversity initiatives and led programs to help increase underrepresented populations in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She also led an arts initiative, directed academic advising and implemented a training program for new chairs and program coordinators. Gentile attended Colgate University as an undergraduate where she majored in chemistry. She completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Brown University and did postdoctoral work in biophysics, supported as a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.

“During my campus visit, I was immediately struck by the academic community the college has built, its thoughtful and intentional commitment to student learning and the energy and enthusiasm of all involved,” said Gentile. “I am incredibly excited about the questions being asked on campus and am greatly looking forward to partnering with the Westminster faculty, staff, students and leadership team.”

Dr. Nohemy Solorzano-Thompson

As the new associate provost for Diversity and Global Learning, Dr. Solorzano-Thompson will advocate on behalf of groups historically underrepresented in higher education (such as people of color, LGBT people, people with disabilities, first-generation college students and others), as well as promoting internationalization of the college, including international students, study abroad, faculty exchanges and international partnerships.

Prior to coming to Westminster, Solorzano-Thompson was an associate professor of Spanish at Whitman College in Washington for 10 years. She was also the faculty chair in Spanish. She has a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from Cornell University, a M.A. in Spanish from Stanford University and completed a scholar Exchange Program in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Brown University. As a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico, Solorzano-Thompson studied the representation of class and gender in Mexican and Chicana/o popular culture. Her book, Daughters of Mexico: Indigenous Women in Film is being published by McFarland publishing. Dr. Nohemy Solorzano-Thompson, her husband Jonathan Thompson and their nine-year-old black lab, Monsi, are excited to make their new home in Sugar House.

“I see wonderful opportunities to expand the college’s strong connection to the surrounding community and increase diversity in the student, faculty and staff populations,” said Solorzano-Thompson. “Westminster offers the kind of liberal arts education that can incorporate even more global learning across campus.”

“Dr. Gentile and Dr. Solorzano-Thompson are great additions to Westminster’s faculty and administrative team,” said Cid Seidelman, provost of Westminster College. “They bring vast experience, innovative ideas and great enthusiasm in support of students and their learning.”

Media Contacts

Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von

About Westminster

Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.

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