St. Gregory’s University added nine new faculty members to its team of educators this semester.

St. Gregory’s University added nine new faculty members to its team of educators this semester.

The new hires range in specialization from business and mathematics to theatre and psychology, the group is representative of the university’s commitment to providing well-rounded educational opportunities for its students.

Zachary Beckstead joined St. Gregory’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In 2011, Beckstead earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University. He specializes in social, evolutionary and cultural psychology.

Stepping into the role of Academic Success Center Director was Soumitra Ghosh. Ghosh attained his Ph.D. in English from Oklahoma State University this year and also serves as an instructor in St. Gregory’s Department of Humanities.

Nicholas Graves is the newest assistant professor in the theatre department. He comes to St. Gregory’s from Indiana University, where he earned his master’s degree in scenic design.

Joining the university’s theology and philosophy department as an assistant professor was Richard Meloche. Meloche recently graduated from Ave Maria University with a doctorate in theology.

The Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics welcomed Valerie Plaus as an assistant professor. Plaus is completing her Ph.D. in physics and specializes in theoretical particle physics.

Oklahoma City University alumni Trad Ghaleb is now an instructor in St. Gregory’s Department of Business. Prior to arriving at St. Gregory’s, he taught marketing and business at Oklahoma State University and was the Director of Operations for Thompson Associates and New Century Investments in Oklahoma City.

Lisa Zarella has a master’s degree in library science and previously served as Library Services Assistant for J.W. Martin Library at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. She is now an instructor on St. Gregory’s faculty.

Finally, St. Gregory’s College for Working Adults appointed graduate and undergraduate department chairs.

Ron W. Diggs is the new Department Chair of Graduate Programs. Diggs came to St. Gregory’s from the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Public Management, where he served as a managerial associate. He has a doctorate in business administration from Northcentral University.

Joanna Purcell had been with the College for Working Adults since 2008, serving on the faculty and as Director of Student Services, before being named its Department Chair of Undergraduate Programs. Purcell earned her master’s degree in higher education administration and student personnel from Northeastern State University.

“Our faculty plays a critical role in the success of our university and in helping our students to grow personally, professionally and spiritually,” St. Gregory’s University President Greg Main said. “We are proud to add these talented, dedicated individuals to our staff, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact they’ll have on our students’ lives.”

St. Gregory’s was founded in 1875 and is home to a community of students, educators and monks dedicated to lifelong learning and faith development. Further information regarding SGU can be found at or by calling 1-888-STGREGS.