Denison University’s 178th Commencement took place on Saturday, May 18. Watch the ceremony in its entirety including commencement keynote speaker Jennifer Garner ’94.
I became VP for Student Development in 2010, after having served Denison as a professor in the Communication Department, as Dean of First-Year Students, and as Director of Service-Learning. My work has always been about supporting students as they pursue the knowledge and skills that will help them live great lives and be effective change agents in their communities and as professionals.
The job of the VP is to set broad strategic direction for student life, to foster initiatives that support the needs of students, and to ensure that we have people and programs to help student flourish. In the last few years, my focus has been on promoting student wellbeing (from academic and financial to physical and emotional, as well as the health of the campus community); diversity and inclusion; aligning student organizations and residential life around leadership, civic engagement and creative problem-solving; and building strong career development programs.
These priorities are the result of conversations with students over coffee or a meal, meetings with student organizations, and lots of research that is focused on hearing about what students need and want, across the diversity of their experiences, values, interests, and aspirations.
When I’m not on the Hill, I’m in the woods. My house in Granville is in a nature preserve, where I love having students over for dinner and conversation. My get-away is a log cabin on a remote lake in northern Ontario where, sadly, cellphones do work.