Dustin Brentlinger has joined Denison University as the Polk Family Director of Student Health and Wellness. In this newly-created position, Brentlinger will provide vision, leadership, and management of the college’s innovative health services program for students. Brentlinger has more than 25 years of experience in higher education and student development, including work in the United States and Europe at large flagship universities and small independent private schools. Brentlinger is well-respected as a strategist who creates connections, collaborates across communities, and brings together resources to support student wellbeing and success.
Reporting to Vice President for Student Development Laurel Kennedy, Brentlinger will work in collaboration with the associate directors of Health Services and Counseling Services managing and executing all functions of the college’s health care delivery system. This responsibility extends to executing collaborative initiatives for integrated healthcare and campus-wide wellness education, as well as the work of the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life in its important support and education work. The executive director also will partner with the offices of institutional advancement and facilities on final stages of fundraising, design, and construction of a new student wellness center.
“Dustin brings to Denison a unique set of professional experiences related to student wellness. He understands well the health and counseling needs of individual students, but also is thoughtful about how communities can create environments that support wellness. As a liberal arts college, we’re committed to supporting the development of healthy minds and the life habits that support them, in addition to treating illness and injury. Dustin will be able to apply his experience to help us pioneer a new approach to college health,” said Kennedy.
Brentlinger joins Denison from the University of Connecticut where he was interim director of strategy for wellness. Prior to that he held dean of student and student affairs roles as well as residence life executive positions at Woodbury University, Heidelberg University, The College of Wooster, New Mexico State University, Harlaxton College in England, and the University of Evansville.
The Polk Family Director of Student Health and Wellness position is made possible by Bobbi and Stephen Polk ’78. The Polk family made a leadership gift to the university in 2019 to support deepening student well-being through facilities and programming and supporting Denison’s vision of integrated and holistic health and wellness.
Stephen Polk, a member of the college’s Board of Trustees, says that Denison can fulfill its potential in this area “because of support from alumni and families. Hopefully our gift will inspire others to give and build out this great vision.”