When John Mangan MUS ’94 returns to Yale this fall to become the dean of Jonathan Edwards College, he may be able to bring a smile to the face of JE students without even issuing a dean’s excuse.

Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead announced at a JE study break Friday that Mangan, a “brilliant classical guitarist,” will take over from current JE Dean Christos Cabolis. The JE search committee made the recommendation to Brodhead Wednesday.

“I like the fact that he adds diversity, not in terms of gender or race, but in terms of interests,” JE Master Gary Haller said. “He’s a musician and he’s a performer.”

While Mangan’s academic focus will add a unique dimension to the position, Mangan will also bring experience in student advising.

After working at Yale’s Undergraduate Services Center and living in Timothy Dwight College as a resident fellow, Mangan left Yale last year to be the dean of Ross Commons at Middlebury College. The “commons” system at Middlebury is similar to Yale’s residential college system.

“The fact that he has lived in a college and played a major role in it and the fact that he has advised students with their careers made him seem like an excellent choice,” Brodhead said.

While at Yale, Mangan was also a music critic for the New Haven Register, reviewing artists from Ray Charles to Itzhak Perlman during his tenure. Prior to his arrival in New Haven, Mangan was a full-time musician with roots in rock, jazz and bluegrass.

Mangan is also interested in education and is currently a doctoral candidate in education at Columbia University.

Katelin Carr ’04, a member of the JE search committee, said she liked Mangan because of his interests and approachable personality.

“He’s a really personable, sensitive and witty kind of guy,” Carr said. “And he has lots of experience with student counseling and student interaction, which is really important.”

Nilofar Gardezi ’03, another member of the search committee, said she was also drawn to Mangan’s personality.

“He’s incredibly gracious and incredibly warm,” she said to the JE students at the study break. “I think he’ll treat everyone equally.”

Haller said Mangan is an excellent successor to Cabolis, whom many in the JE community considered to be “irreplaceable.”

Cabolis announced last month that, after six years as dean, he would step down from his post at the end of the academic year to become the executive director of the Yale School of Management’s International Center for Finance.