FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Traupman, Exec. Director of College Relations
Office: 610-740-3790 Mobile: 610-533-0310
Benner, College Relations Associate – Media
Office: 610-740-3790 Mobile: 610-428-8207
CEDAR CREST COLLEGE MOURNS THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT DOROTHY GULBENKIAN BLANEY
Allentown, PA (July 11, 2006) - Cedar Crest College announced today that Dorothy Gulbenkian Blaney, President of Cedar Crest College, died on July 10 after a long struggle with cancer. She passed away in the President’s Residence at the College with her family at her bedside.
Dr. Blaney had requested a leave from the Board of Trustees on Thursday, July 6. According to the College’s by-laws, Carol A. Pulham, Ph.D, ’76, the College’s Provost, assumed day-to-day responsibilities of the College President through December 31, 2006. The Trustees will meet later this month to discuss a search for a new president.
President Blaney’s husband, Dr. Joseph Blaney, said, “I cannot, at this time, adequately express the devastation I feel with the loss of Dorothy. She was at the center of the joy and happiness I have experienced for nearly thirty years. I knew and loved the complete Dorothy Gulbenkian Blaney. Cedar Crest College can never fully appreciate, as I do, what a wonderful person they had as President for eighteen years.”
“You do not have enough room to print all of Dorothy’s achievements and honors and awards,” said Charles T. Noonan, Chairman of the Cedar Crest College Board of Trustees. “Educators educate. Leaders lead. Dorothy was an educating leader. She led Cedar Crest to eminence. She educated us all here at the College to strive for perfection, always her goal. We Trustees admire Dorothy; we respect her; we honor her; but most importantly, we love her, without end.”
"My life has been truly beautiful, full of passion, energy, achievement and love and also lots of fun,” wrote Dr. Blaney in a brief letter to her family just before she died. “I know for many my death will be sad but for me it will be a chance to become part of all that is good and whole and beautiful. I will haunt Joseph always and Hope too. "The Magic Flute" is my favorite piece of music and captures the magic, the sublime music that makes life comedy rather than tragedy. That summarizes the best for me."
For more than 30 years, Dorothy Gulbenkian Blaney was a leader in higher education. Prior to assuming the presidency of Cedar Crest College in 1988, Dr. Blaney served as Executive Vice President of Pace University in New York and before that as Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education in the New York State education system.
When Dr. Blaney first arrived on campus at that time, the College’s financial condition was grave and the enrollment barely reached 700 students. This summer, the total enrollment of the College has reached nearly 1,900. In addition, the number of honor students has increased 35 percent and science students have doubled, the endowment has increased fourfold, the total annual giving has risen from $1.2 million to $5.7 million, and alumnae participation in giving has increased from 26 percent to 50 percent.
Under her stewardship, the College has acquired major art works on permanent loan, including sculptures of Gaston Lachaise (one of the twentieth century’s modern masters), eight works of Bruno Lucchesi (one of the leading figurative sculptors of the second half of the century) and seven works of Toshiko Takaezu (international ceramicist). The College has added three new buildings, including the Miller Family Building, with state-of-the-art science and nursing facilities and the Lachaise art gallery, the Rodale Aquatic Center, with a competition and a fitness pool, and, in 2004, the Oberkotter Center for Health and Wellness. With her vision, the DaVinci Discovery Center for Science and Technology was also relocated to the Cedar Crest campus.
On May 16, in honor of all that Dr. Blaney has done for Cedar Crest College, the Trustees voted to change the name of the Administration Building, and rededicate it as Blaney Hall.
Dr. Blaney served as chair of the Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, as a Trustee of the Academy of American Poets, and on the boards of the Discovery Center of Science and Technology and the Council of Independent Colleges. In 2005, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education honored Dr. Blaney with its Chief Executive Leadership Award.
She was the author of three books, “Careers for Humanists,” with Ernest R. May of Harvard University, as well as “Infinite Possibilities” and “Gifts of Today” with David Finn (the last of which will be published at the end of July).
Dr. Blaney graduated from the Shipley School, received her B.A. from Cornell University, held a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, and received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany.
Dr. Blaney was born in Plainfield, New Jersey on February 24, 1941. Her parents, both deceased, were Diran and Kathleen Gulbenkian. She was a grand-niece of Calouste Gulbenkian, founder of the Gulbenkian Museum and Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal. Dr. Blaney is survived by her husband Joseph of Allentown and Skytop, PA, her daughter Hope M. Harrison of Alexandria, VA, and her sister, Mary Leferovich of Eastchester, NY.
The funeral will be private. There will be a memorial service at the College at 11:00 a.m. on July 20. The public is cordially invited. The family requests that flowers not be sent. A student scholarship in Dr. Blaney’s name is being established at the College. Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made to: Cedar Crest College, Dorothy Gulbenkian Blaney Scholarship Fund, 100 College Dr., Allentown, PA 18104.