I have decided that at the end of May it will be time for me to graduate from my experience of being the Director of Campus Life at Macalester College. I feel very much like the students who I have worked with over the past eight years. They arrive feeling in over their heads, get engaged with the community, and are transformed by their experiences here. Despite their love for Macalester, students usually come to a point where they are ready to take all that they have gained and use it to make a difference beyond Mac. It seems that I share their journey, but to no one’s surprise it has taken me twice as long to get there as it takes most of them. I do so with gratitude for the opportunities, learning, and relationships I’ve experienced over the years. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities, learning, and relationships that this experience has offered me.
I’m grateful for the time spent working with others to intentionally create meaningful opportunities for student learning beyond the classroom. Of course, none of what I was able to help contribute would have been possible without so many amazing teammates and partnerships over the years. It has been an amazing opportunity to lead staff by developing teams and fostering individual and collective growth. I’ve tried to create a clear vision and empower each staff member to use their unique and diverse talents to help us all achieve our goals. I’m thankful that I’ve been given the access to work with others to improve processes and systems all across the student experience benefiting both students and the institution.
Looking back at my arrival eight years ago, I can’t believe how much I have learned and changed as a result of my experiences. The issues, challenges, and conversations have been a powerful gift. The students and staff are constantly teaching me about identity, power, diversity, and social justice. I never imagined that my responsibilities would lead me to learn so much about technology, processes, databases, and systems. The way student issues and crises are managed at Macalester is amazing. I’ve certainly learned a great deal from my own involvement but I’ve gained even more from the conversations with others who have worked to help students with so much care, integrity, and wisdom.
Relationships and connections are the core of what I value. I am deeply grateful for the relationships with students and staff that have enriched my work and my life. Current and former Campus Life staff members have each made incredible contributions to my personal and professional growth. Colleagues from other departments have proven to be not only wonderful co-workers but also wonderful humans. Special thanks to Jim Hoppe for this opportunity eight years ago, for guiding me, and for teaching me so much along the way. I’m thankful for the relationships I have had and for those that will continue.
Macalester is a special place. I’ve never known any institution that is so clear about its espoused values and that works so hard every day to enact those values.
As I prepare for my own graduation from Macalester in May. I am reminded with a full heart what we tell students each year. “Commencement” is not the end; it is a beginning.