Gannon University announces new dean and associate dean for College of Engineering and Business

Gannon University on Tuesday announced the appointment of Karinna M. Vernaza, Ph.D., as dean of the College of Engineering and Business (CEB), and Susantha Herath, Ph.D., as associate dean and director of the School of Engineering and Computing.

Walter Iwanenko, Jr., Ph. D., vice president of Academic Affairs, described Vernaza and Herath as “visionary leaders.”

“We are grateful to Dr. Vernaza for her continued service and commitment to Gannon University, our faculty and our students,” Iwanenko said in a university news release.

“We are excited by both her decision to serve as dean, as well as to welcome Dr. Herath to join her in leading the college as associate dean of the School of Engineering and Computing to propel our engineering and computer-based programs forward.”

Vernaza has served as the college’s interim dean since January 2017. She came to the university in 2003 as an assistant professor in mechanical engineering. Vernaza was awarded tenure and advancement in rank to associate professor in 2009 and advanced to full professor in 2014.

“I am honored to serve and lead as dean of the College of Engineering and Business,” Vernaza said.

“I look forward to continuing to work alongside our faculty, students and community partners to advance academic and professional success, and drive innovation and impact on the economic development of our region through our college’s collaboration and service to the community.”

Herath joins Gannon after working 18 years at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. There he held a wide range of administrative and academic responsibilities, including chair of the Information Systems Department since 2009.

“I am inspired by Gannon University’s vision for the future of its academic programs, commitment to its students and the institution’s involvement in the development of its surrounding region,” Herath said.

“I look forward to being a part of implementing that vision and expanding Gannon’s engineering and computer science programs both regionally and globally to create new educational and research opportunities for students and faculty.”



[email protected]