Jeanne M. Colleran’s heart belongs to two cities: Pittsburgh, where she was born and raised and where most of her family still lives; and Cleveland, where she has spent most of her adult life and has raised her two children.
On Aug. 4, as her latest achievement in a long academic career, she will become provost and academic vice president at John Carroll University.
Ms. Colleran comes from a line of Irish Catholic immigrants, and her grandparents came to Pittsburgh‘s Oakland area from Ireland. After she graduated from Elizabeth Seton High School, Ms.Colleran went to John Carroll in University Heights, Ohio, to major in English.
“My mother made us all readers — she is the most well-read person I know — and I have just always loved English and the written word. I never considered majoring in anything else,” she said.
Ms. Colleran went on to Case Western Reserve University for her master’s degree in English and obtained her doctorate in English from The Ohio State University.
After she completed her undergraduate studies, she worked for a short time at the university, then went on to graduate school. After she finished her Ph.D., she returned to John Carroll as a visiting instructor of English in 1987. She has been at John Carroll ever since.
“I’ve been here 27 years. I’ve taught here, I’ve been an administrator. I obviously love it and believe in our education here,” Ms. Colleran said.
During her tenure, in addition to serving as a professor, Ms. Colleran has been chair of the English department and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Although Ms. Colleran, her husband, Richard Weaver, and their two children James, 25, and Julia, 21, have made the Cleveland suburb of University Heights their home, she frequently travels back to see her parents, Bill and Regina Colleran. Her father, now 90, is a bluegrass musician known as “Mac Martin” who still performs with his band, The Dixie Travelers.
“We have always had music in our house, thanks to our dad. I love music because of my father,” she said.
True to her Irish roots, Ms. Colleran also teaches Irish literature and has led educational trips to Ireland. She has also been named to the Irish Education 100 list for outstanding educators in the U.S.
“That is something that I am very proud of,” Ms. Colleran said. In another homage to her Irish heritage, she is a certified Irish whiskey taster.
As she moves into her next phase in her career, Ms. Colleran said she is dedicated to preserving the university’s commitment to teaching excellence and the Jesuit culture.
“We take care of our students in every way. We had excellent, dedicated teachers, but we also help them figure out their lives in other ways. Yes, we help them find a career, but we also help them determine a path in other ways,” she said.
And though she will be busy with her new duties, she still plans to return to Pittsburgh as much as she can.
“I love Pittsburgh. My parents and my brothers are there and I was married there. It is where my roots are,” she said.
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: email@example.com.
JEANNE M. COLLERAN
HOMETOWN: Cleveland Heights
OCCUPATION: Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at John Carroll University; on Aug. 4 will become provost and academic vice president
FAMILY: Husband, Richard Weaver; son, James, 25, and daughter, Julia, 21
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University; master’s degree from Case Western University and doctorate from The Ohio State University
WHAT’S IMPORTANT? Kindness and family
FIRST JOB: College fashion adviser for Kaufmann’s Downtown
AND WHEN YOU WERE A KID, YOU WANTED TO BE: A singer
HOBBIES: Reading, music and swimming
READING MATERIAL ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND: Contemporary fiction, philosophy
WHAT‘S PLAYING ON TV? “Mad Men”
WHAT’S ON YOUR PLAYLIST: “My father, Bill Colleran, whose stage name is “Max Martin” and who plays with The Dixie Travelers Fantasy.”
CELEBRITY DINNER DATE: James Joyce
FANTASY PARTNER ON “DANCING WITH THE STARS”: Gene Kelly
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE? ”I’m going to go with someone obscure: Jeanne Moreau.”
PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW: “I’m on the ‘Irish Education 100’ list for outstanding educators in the U.S. and I am a certified Irish whiskey taster.”
GUILTY PLEASURE: Silk scarves
IF YOU HAD IT TO DO ALL OVER, YOU WOULD: Learn violin
FAVORITE SPOT[S] IN THE WORLD: Pittsburgh and Cleveland
BEST USE OF A $100 GIFT CARD: Books and fresh flowers
PROUDEST MOMENT, SO FAR: “That I have thoughtful young adult children.”
GOALS: “Keep spreading the good news about John Carroll University.’‘
WHAT’S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? Travel to the Outer Hebrides and other travel.