McConnell names Almasy dean of Eberly College for his last day in office to honor his service to university as a five-time interim dean
In recognition of Rudy Almasy’s extraordinary service to West Virginia University as an interim dean, Provost Joyce McConnell has named him dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences for June 30, permitting him to retire the next day as a dean emeritus. He is currently serving his fourth stint as interim dean of Eberly, and fifth overall.
“Ever since Rudy announced his retirement, my office has been flooded with calls from students, faculty and alumni who want to celebrate and honor him,” McConnell said. “Appointing him as dean on his last day in office is a fitting tribute. The appointment conveys WVU’s gratitude publicly and allows Rudy to take the much-deserved title dean emeritus with him into retirement.”
The ceremonial appointment, which is at the Provost’s discretion, is supported by both President Gordon Gee and the Board of Governors. Almasy, a professor of English, served as interim dean at Eberly in 1995-1997, 2004-2005, 2009-2010, 2014-2015.
As WVU’s largest academic unit, with more than 400 faculty, 36 undergraduate majors and 32 graduate programs, Eberly is larger than many small independent colleges. It requires very skilled leadership, especially in periods of transition, according to Vice Provost Russ Dean, who has been in the Provost’s Office since 1989 and worked closely with Almasy during all of his interim appointments.
“When an academic unit is between leaders, faculty, staff and students naturally get very anxious,” Dean said. “They want to know that someone is truly in charge and that their concerns are being heard. Rudy has always navigated this difficult period with tremendous sensitivity and confidence. We’ve been very lucky to have had him take on the interim role so often.”
From 2011-2012, Almasy served as interim dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, while the university conducted a search for the current Davis dean, Dan Robison.
“I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through my first few months as dean without Rudy’s guidance,” Robison said. “He was incredibly collegial and supportive, and he had clearly done a tremendous job boosting the morale of the faculty and staff in Davis—which made my job much easier!”
Almasy joined the WVU English faculty as an instructor in 1969. He later shifted to the tenure track and was awarded tenure in 1979. In addition to serving as an interim dean multiple times, Almasy has served as chair of the English Department, director of the undergraduate writing laboratory and of the business English program, associate dean for academic affairs in Eberly and associate dean for college development, also in Eberly.
His research interests include early modern and reformation literature and – in more recent years – young adult and adolescent literature in all genres.
“The last time Rudy stepped down as interim dean, we presented him with a wizarding wand from his beloved Harry Potter series,” said McConnell. “I am not sure how we can top that, but hope that Rudy knows that his appointment as dean for a day is truly symbolic of all that he means to West Virginia University.”
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