Facing the Students

dawn ellinwood

The larger-than-life silver knight that stood for years in the Office of Student Affairs was waiting was waiting in the corner on Dawn Ellinwood's first day as the new Vice President for Student Affairs. Ellinwood arrived this past summer to take the reins from Mike Samara when he retired, and despite the significant personnel change, there's a lot, like the knight, that remains at the center of Student Life.

Ellinwood, who was Dean of Students at Hampshire College for four years, and before that worked for 12 years at Elms College, wasn't looking for a new position when the opportunity at Saint Michael's presented itself.

But, "When the search firm contacted me, it turned my head," she says. "I always loved the community at a Catholic campus. It's a very different community that gives you an ability to interact in a different kind of way."

A self-described collaborator, Ellinwood's priority is the student experience, and so far, she likes what she sees at Saint Michael's. "Why was I attracted here? Think about it! Students are happy. I did my research and what jumped out at me was how the community is described: a happy place, a good place to work. It is what I longed for."

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