Dean of Student Life Departs

Suzy Nelson will become dean of the college at Colgate University.

Suzy Nelson

Dean of student life Suzy M. Nelson will leave at the end of the academic year to accept a post as vice president and dean of the college at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, Harvard College dean Evelynn M. Hammonds announced today.

Under Nelson's leadership, the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Student Life and Activities were merged into a single entity that oversees nonacademic parts of the student experience. "While improving efficiencies and effectiveness in student services, Suzy also worked to enhance educational programming for College and residential staff, giving them the tools they need to serve students more effectively," Hammonds said in an e-mail to College staff.

Nelson, who came to Harvard in 2005 after serving as associate dean of students at Cornell for seven years, was also among the leaders of a committee that in 2008 set the agenda for the forthcoming renovation of the undergraduate Houses.

Associate dean of student life Joshua McIntosh will serve as interim dean until a successor is chosen.

The full text of Hammonds's message appears below:

Dear Colleagues,
I write to inform you that Suzy Nelson, Dean of Student Life, has accepted a position as Vice President and Dean of the College at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.
Suzy is a highly valued colleague, a key advisor, and a friend.  She will be missed. I hope you will join me in congratulating her on being offered this terrific opportunity to lead an excellent liberal arts college.  This move will also allow Suzy and her husband to return home to Upstate New York.
Since joining Harvard College in 2005, Suzy has led several efforts that will have a long-lasting impact on our community.  In 2008, she helped spearhead the House Program Planning Committee (HPPC) on behalf of Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean Michael D. Smith and me.  This committee, which included participation from faculty, students, and staff, produced the fundamental blueprint that will guide our efforts to renew the House system for years to come.
In 2009, Suzy also successfully oversaw the creation of the Office of Student Life (OSL) by merging the former Offices of Residential Life and Student Life and Activities.  This restructuring significantly improved the delivery of critical services to undergraduates, while creating more seamless coordination among activities and departments including residential life, housing, student activities, the Student Organization Center at Hilles, the Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub, the Harvard College Women’s Center, public service initiatives, and the Harvard Foundation.
While improving efficiencies and effectiveness in student services, Suzy also worked to enhance educational programming for College and residential staff, giving them the tools they need to serve students more effectively.
Most recently, Suzy co-chaired with House Master and Harvard Business School Professor Rakesh Khurana a committee of students, faculty, and staff to review the College’s alcohol policy.
Suzy will formally move to her new role on June 27, 2012.  The College will launch a search for Suzy’s replacement in the near future, and I have asked Associate Dean of Student Life, Josh McIntosh, to serve as Interim Dean of Student Life until a permanent successor is appointed.  Josh has been with the College since 2006 and has the knowledge, experience, and judgment to lead the OSL until a new Dean of Student Life is appointed.
Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds


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