Former president’s portrait revealed

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April 16, 2012

A portrait of McDaniel’s eighth president, Joan Develin Coley, was unveiled at the annual trustee-faculty dinner held April 13 in Decker Forum.

Joining the faculty in 1973 as Director of the Graduate Reading Program, Coley went on to serve as dean of Graduate Affairs and chair of the Department of Education. Prior to her election as president in 2000, she served as College Provost for six years during which time she led the faculty in a revision of the curriculum and co-chaired the committee that produced the 2003-2008 strategic plan. During her career she published extensively, writing articles and reviews for national journals and authoring or coauthoring several books. She was the first female president and the first to be promoted from the faculty ranks. Within the first year of her presidency, Coley led the College through a major repositioning that was launched in 2002 with its name change from Western Maryland College to McDaniel College. She also spearheaded the College’s most ambitious comprehensive fund-raising campaign—during the most challenging economy in decades, exceeding its lofty goal of $65 million by an unprecedented $8 million. Coley realized many significant goals she set for the College, including the development and adoption of a new, more global, interdisciplinary and multicultural undergraduate curriculum, the expansion of post-baccalaureate programs, the creation of the Center on the Study of Aging, and more than $45 million in campus improvements for academic study, student residential life, and recreation. She also led the committee that developed the new strategic plan that charts the College’s course through 2014.

Portrait painted by Artist Michael Shane Neal, (from left) Trustee James Melhorn, President Joan Develin Coley, Board Chair Martin K.P. Hill.

Trustee James Melhorn who served as chairman of the Board during Coley’s tenure gave remarks applauding her energy and devotion to students and commitment to faculty and staff. She was the right person at the right time to [have led] the College we all love.”

In her remarks expressing gratitude to President Roger Casey and the Board of Trustees, Coley said that she asked the artist to include books originally owned by the College’s first president, J.T. Ward, who donated his collection to then Western Maryland College and are now displayed on campus in Hoover Library along with his portrait.

The painting was created by Michael Shane Neal, an accomplished portraitist from Nashville, Tenn., who has completed numerous still life paintings and over 400 portraits including U.S. Senators, corporate and civic leaders, college presidents and family portraits commissioned by people across the nation. He also painted the portrait of Dr. Robert Chambers who served as the College’s president from 1994-2000.

President Joan Develin Coley with Artist Michael Shane Neal.

Also recognized was Mary Ann Friday, former Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Board who retired in December after 23 years of service. Mary Lynn Durham, vice-chair of the Board, read a citation in Friday’s honor and she was presented with a College chair.

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