Patrice Rankine, a scholar of classical languages and the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Hope College, will replace Kathleen Skerrett as Richmond's Dean of Arts and Sciences on June 1, 2016. 

Provost Jacquelyn Fetrow announced Rankine's appointment in an email to the university community Tuesday morning describing him as truly remarkable.

“Dr. Rankine is an experienced and accomplished scholar and administrator who deeply appreciates the importance we at Richmond attach to our deans being student-focused and committed to faculty development," Fetrow told University of Richmond communications.

Rankine has served as Dean of Arts and Humanities and acting chair of Art and Art History at Hope College since 2013. Rankine was the founding dean for an art museum and a musical arts center—two significant institutions, Ray Richard, Hope College Provost, said.

Ray characterized Rankine as a thoughtful and caring person who is very faculty-oriented but also very student-centric. He praised Rankine's ability to balance the two focuses, echoing Fetrow's assessment. 

"My experience at Hope College leads me to put people first," Rankine wrote in an email.

Rankine has also balanced his own scholarship with his administrative pursuits. He has published extensively and received awards for his work on subjects such as the intersection of themes in European classical literature and African American literature, demonstrated in his book "Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature."

Eric Yellin, associate professor of history and American studies, was the co-chair, with Fetrow, of the search committee to find the new dean. 

Yellin said his committee had looked for a candidate with experience in collaborative leadership and undergraduate education, but had emphasized that they had wanted someone who understood what it meant to build identity in a school. Though Yellin said the position had been flooded with qualified candidates, Rankine had stood out. 

"I am absolutely delighted to join the faculty and leadership team at the University of Richmond,” Rankine told University of Richmond communications. “Richmond’s School of Arts and Sciences has a diverse, accomplished faculty. The colleagues are national leaders in their areas of research, and teachers who produce productive citizens. Under the leadership of President Crutcher, Provost Fetrow and the deans of schools, the university is poised for even greater heights, and I am honored to have been chosen to help us toward this future."

Contact news editor Kayla Solsbak at kayla.solsbak@richmond.edu