La Salle University is welcoming its newest member to the community.
Cameron B. Wesson, Ph.D., will begin as the School of Arts and Sciences Dean, effective June 20. Wesson comes to the University from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., where he most recently served as a Professor of Anthropology and Special Advisor to the President. Prior to these roles, he served as Provost and Dean of the Faculty at the college.
“La Salle is pleased to welcome Dr. Wesson to our campus,” said Shivanthi Anandan, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the School of Arts and Sciences. I know he will continue to grow and strengthen the University’s tradition of providing a strong liberal arts education to its students.”
Get to know Dr. Wesson
Hometown: I was born in Sylacauga, Alabama and grew up in nearby Childersburg, Alabama. I doubt anyone at La Salle can find those without the aid of Google maps!
First thing you’re excited to do in Philly: I love live music and I’m a regular at The Mann, Union Terminal, the Fillmore, and World Cafe Live. I already have tickets for several shows this summer. If you see me at a concert, don’t be a stranger!
Hobbies: I have a degree in architecture, so one of my hobbies is house restoration. Having restored an 1860s farmhouse in Vermont, I’m now working on a Victorian in Allentown.
Favorite book: How can you pick only one? If I had to name a single book, it would probably be Victor Turner’s The Forest of Symbols.
Favorite movie and/or TV show: Movie – About a Boy and TV show – Grand Designs
Favorite vacation memory: Walking the Wales Coastal Path on Anglesey.
Fun fact: I had a former hobby of restoring old, air-cooled Volkswagens from the 1950s and 1960s. I probably still have enough spare parts lying about to build one!
As Dean, Wesson will create a strategic vision for the school, propose new academic programs, enhance existing academic programs, increase financial resources, grow enrollment, elevate the school’s reputation for delivering a rigorous, high-impact education, and nurture the strengths and passions of faculty, staff, and students.
Wesson brings years of academic leadership experience to La Salle.
During his time at Franklin & Marshall, Wesson addressed issues on items including faculty recruitment and retention, financial management, fundraising, curricular revision and reform, DEIB initiatives, student recruitment and retention, facilities management and enhancement, improving student outcomes, growing resources in support of faculty research, and addressing institutional relations with the local community.
“I am elated to be joining the School of Arts and Sciences at La Salle University,” he said. “I was struck during my interactions with the members of the search committee and during my campus interview with the professionalism and dedication faculty, professional staff, and members of the administration bring to La Salle. This is a unique moment in the history of U.S. higher education, and I am excited to join an institution where every stakeholder is committed to creating sustainable success for our students and the University.”
At La Salle, Wesson’s first order of business is to get to know the faculty, staff, and students within the School of Arts and Sciences. He’ll collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to ensure the school’s current academic programming is serving the University’s mission and explore the potential of new programs to position graduates for success.
Wesson was drawn to La Salle because of its mission and the University’s track record of launching graduates who understand that a component of being successful includes serving others.
“The School of Arts and Sciences is recognized for providing exceptional academic programs that attract intellectually curious students,” Wesson said. “As we confront a range of complex global challenges, I want the faculty and students in SAS to use that innate curiosity to help find solutions to those problems. This is where I believe we can lean into the principle that “all knowledge is practical and empowering, filled with the capacity to transform lives.” We sometimes get too involved with day-to-day and forget how awesome it is to be part of an institution that fundamentally transforms lives. I want everyone in SAS to always be aware of just how critical their role is in that process.”
He wants to create better support for faculty research and creative activity within the school and work across the University’s three schools to foster cross-School collaborations that could help serve La Salle students and its mission.
“I would like to see the School of Arts and Sciences develop better support for faculty and institutional grants while increasing its philanthropic outreach. We provide incredible opportunities for students to participate in faculty-led research and community outreach projects and we need to generate the financial support necessary to ensure those programs continue to be successful,” he said.
Wesson studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned a Ph.D. in anthropology. He also received an M.A. in anthropology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in anthropology and a B.S. in architecture and environmental design from Auburn University.