An email was sent out by President James Mullen on March 25, 2015 to announce Dean of Students Joseph DiChristina’s departure from Allegheny College.
According to the email, DiChristina has accepted an opportunity to be dean of campus life and vice president of student affairs at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sue Stuebner will head a committee in an immediate national search for a new dean of students. The committee will consist of students, faculty and staff. The committee is planning to have the position filled by January of 2016 at the latest, though Jacqueline Kondrot, the associate dean of students for wellness education and deputy Title IX coordinator, said the position may be filled sooner.
“We will look for an experienced student services professional who cares deeply about the values that our statement of community represents and has clear experience enhancing the quality of life in a residential liberal arts community,” Mullen said. “That individual should demonstrate a passionate commitment to the student experience and to bridging curricular and co-curricular life into a comprehensive learning environment.”
Until a new dean of students is chosen, Kondrot will fill the position and fulfill the responsibilities that come along with it.
“I’m certain it will be challenging,” Kondrot said.
Mullen has full faith in Kondrot’s ability to fill the position until a candidate is chosen.
“[Kondrot] is an outstanding professional with considerable experience and we are very fortunate she is willing to provide leadership during this critical time. She looks forward to partnering with the newly appointed dean and ensuring a smooth transition for the College and for students,” he said.
Kondrot said there will also likely be other interim positions adjusted to compensate for her increased workload and make it more manageable.
Kondrot has been employed at Allegheny for 25 years, spending eight of those years as the counseling center director.
She feels that, after working closely with DiChristina for so long, she has learned a lot from him.
“He’s a very student-oriented person,” she said. “I’ll be very sad to see him go.”
Mullen said he shares the sentiments that DiChristina had much to offer the college.
“I have been a college president for more than 15 years and in that time I have not seen a dean of students who brings greater caring or passion to the service of students,” Mullen said. “He is the consummate professional and Allegheny has been blessed to have his leadership over the past decade. He has made a powerful difference in the lives of so many students and all of us should be grateful for what he has meant to our campus.”
Janos Cseh, ’15, who worked with DiChristina during Allegheny’s Collegiate Leadership Conference, acknowledged that DiChristina has a tough job.
“He was an interesting guy,” Cseh said. “I personally have never had any problems with him.”
DiChristina began his work at Allegheny as the director of the Center for Experiential Learning in 1999 and has since held a variety of student life positions.
Although Mullen found DiChristina to be a strong asset for Allegheny, he is hopeful for the future dean of students.
“There will always be some change when new leadership arrives,” Mullen said. “What I hope for most is a continued focus on strengthening the student experience. We will ask the new dean to continue to develop new programs that ensure every student the opportunity for a remarkable four years at Allegheny and we will ask our new colleague to work every day to give life to our statement of community.”