From the Dean, sent in an email to the JE Community...
My Fellow Spiders:
I write to let you know that I am leaving the deanship of Jonathan Edwards College at the end of this semester. I have accepted a position with Academies Australasia and will be moving to Sydney, Australia at the end of December. The Australian academic year follows the calendar year, which explains my winter departure. This is an exciting opportunity to live in Veronica’s home city and bring students from around the world to study in Australia. After years of encouraging all of you to study abroad, it is time I heeded my own advice.
As with all of you, I knew my time here would not be permanent. I feel like a second semester senior, excited about what the future holds and yet unable to imagine what it means to leave our community. Move-In Day and the JE moving crew, Great Awakening, Screw, COMA, the insanity of my study breaks, Wet Monday, Spider Ball, and Commencement have been my markers of the academic year. I know how rare a community like JE is, there is nothing like it at any university in the world. It is your love of this place and the traditions you and recent alum sustain that ensure the next dean will arrive to a flourishing community.
I have served as dean to a thousand Spiders these past eleven semesters. I have learned a great from you, from Fireside Chats to Paskus-Mellon talks, through laughter and occasionally tears. I’ve seen you flourish and it is an honor to bear witness to your growth. I knew the intellectual gifts you would bring; but I am more impressed with your passion, character, compassion, resilience, and humor.
My time in JE has been the most formative in my life. I arrived single and leave married with two children. You have embraced Veronica and adopted my children. Serena’s first steps were on the JE ’09 graduation stage. You chased Serena around the courtyard, gave her early fist-bumps, voted her Tulip Princess and increased her vocabulary beyond her age. You were there for the presentation of Jasper with “Circle of Life” playing during a family dinner. Recently you joined us for Jasper’s birthday party, singing to the Ronettes “Be My Baby” with hats and cheers. These are memories we will never forget.
There are too many people to thank. Master Haller and Master Laurans have been amazing mentors and partners through these years. Their deep love for JE mirrors my own. Michael, Susan and Jurgen, Brian and Ross, along with the other remarkable fellows have all made this community richer. Teri, Gygi, Trish and Lisa have kept the college running smoothly and been far more than colleagues. Ian, Russ and Rashmi have gone beyond expectations, as have all the dining hall and custodial staff. And then there is Jill. She has been my right hand for five years and we have all benefited from her diligence, wisdom, patience, and humor. Serena’s “Aunt Jill!” has also been a dear friend and feels like part of our family. I cannot thank her enough.
I am grateful that I leave the college under the leadership of Master Laurans. Her passion for this community knows no bounds. She is cheering you on with the JE flag at inter-tube water polo and midnight ice hockey; counseling you through courses and conundrums; square dancing with you in the Great Hall; welcoming you to Master’s Teas, and hosting your own performances as poets and musicians. The next dean will be truly fortunate to work beside Master Laurans.
Even more so, the next dean will benefit because of you. Please welcome him or her and offer the same support you offered me. It is challenging to enter a community of 420 students you have never met, even if before long you get to meet most all of them, and know many of them extremely well.
I am here through December so you can count on me through the semester. I will always be a Spider, and my attachment is not to the gothic buildings, it is to you and the Spiders who came before you. Thank you for making these years so rich. You will be missed more than you know.