Feature Friday: Meet Our New Associate Dean: Pongrácz Sennyey

Posted on: October 22, 2020

It is our pleasure to introduce Pongrácz Sennyey as the new Associate Dean for Discovery, Access, and Technology in the JMU Libraries.

Pongrácz Sennyey

In his former role as dean of the library at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, he was in charge of strategic planning that led to new spaces, services, and innovative technical solutions.

At JMU, Sennyey will supervise 55-60 library employees in departments related to our technology and metadata services, interlibrary loan, and physical and digital collections. Sennyey’s commitment to meeting the needs of library users, collaborating across divisions, and creating simple, smooth user experiences will serve the entire JMU community well.

“I’ve spent the better part of the last decade emphasizing the need to rethink how the library supports its users,” Sennyey says. “Listening to the needs of our community and reacting to those needs is mission-critical.”

“I’m delighted that Pongrácz is bringing his vision, leadership, and experience to such a crucial area of the Libraries,” said Dean Bethany Nowviskie. “The vibrant, behind-the-scenes departments he’ll guide provide print and digital resources, tools, and infrastructure to power learning, research, and creativity at JMU.”

Sennyey is fluent in four languages and was a Fulbright scholar, working in Hungary on a project to digitize the Angevin Register. Please join us in offering him a warm welcome to campus!

Q&A with Pongrácz:

Q: What excites you most about your new position?

A: The intersection of librarianship and technology, though not new in the profession, is one that opens up a large menu of challenges and opportunities. With the transition to digital collections new ways to use libraries — and new ways to serve patrons — have risen to the forefront. I have always been interested in this dimension of our profession. Given the many changes taking place in technology, as well as the changes in user behavior in response to the pandemic, this is an area that promises many changes; exciting indeed.

Q: What’s a Harrisonburg restaurant that you’re excited to try?

A: I am particularly excited by the variety of restaurants in town. I do not yet know any of them, but some of the great cuisines of the world are well represented in town.

Q: What Shenandoah Valley attraction looks most interesting to you?

A: We have been avid campers for many years. Having so many parks nearby, of such natural beauty, is a treat.

Q: What would you like everyone at JMU to know about you?

A: I love to bake breads, as a hobby. We have seldom bought breads at home for the past 20+ years… and I have to contend with near-rebellions if I skip a week.

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