During the last couple of months, Gonzaga University has seen the resignation of many high positions in multiple offices and is left with the task of figuring out what to do with these positions moving forward.
Kelly Alvarado-Young, Amy Swank and Richard Menard have all made significant contributions to their respective departments during their time at GU.
Alvarado-Young stated resignation of her position as director of First Year Experience programs back in July and is now moving on to Washington State University where she will be the director of new student programs.
In an email to the GU community, Vice Provost of Student Affairs Kent Porterfield addressed her resignation with appreciation.
“She has overseen seven New Student Orientation cycles at Gonzaga," Porterfield said. "Kelly brought organization and vision to new student transitions at Gonzaga, and her passion for equity, inclusion and Gonzaga's mission is embedded in all the programs her office has coordinated."
For the time being, Matt Lamsma, dean of student engagement, is taking on any communications for the First Year Experience Program.
Swank was the director of the Office of Parent and Family Relations (PFR) at GU for 13 years and had leadership qualities that elevated the office.
Eric Baldwin, dean of student well-being and healthy living, worked closely with Swank and feels that her resignation is going to greatly impact the entire GU community.
“She helped to build the program from the ground up and it was her leadership that brought the program to its current heights,” Baldwin said. “Nicola Mannetter, the most recent director of the Center for Cura Personalis, is serving as the Interim Director of PFR. Nicola is the perfect person to continue serving our parents and families.”
Swank has worked hard to build up this program and make a lasting legacy.
Richard Menard said he will be moving on to a different university to happily support his wife, Amy Swank, in this fantastic opportunity that has arisen.
Menard’s experience as the director of the Center for Global Engagement is going to be a huge benefit to whichever university he moves on to. His goal when he came to GU was to expand the study abroad program and take it to the next level.
With the new collaboration with Shorelight Education and the expansion of the study abroad program into other countries, Menard feels satisfied with the time and work he has put in at GU.
“Since I’m leaving now, my team will be able to really step in and other people can get their chance to develop their own skills," Menard said. "It’s time to give other people their chance to grow.”
Menard’s resignation is saddening to the GU community but his time on campus and the opportunity that he has created for students has set the bar high for anyone coming in to the office after him.
“I’m going to miss the people at GU and just how great everyone here is," Menard said. "It has just been so much fun working with everyone. I really just want to express my thanks to the GU community. This has been a great experience.”
Menard believes Swank and his’ journey is far from over and there is a chance that the GU campus might welcome them back at some point in the future.
There are prospects for these three positions and interim position holders for now, but there is speculation that the director of First Year Experience and director of Parent and Family Relations may be combined into one position.
Baldwin said that nothing is certain right now, but in the closing of the fall semester and before the spring semester begins, there will be more information going out to students and their families as to if and when any collaborations will be taking place.
Aside from the resignation of these three positions, there are other concerns amongst GU community members as to the budget and hiring process and capacity of the university at this moment.
Baldwin said that even though there are positions that may be empty for now, COVID-19 has created new jobs and made a spot for itself in the budget.
“There are many positions that have been hired including the contact tracers and additional professional placements in housing and residence life," Baldwin said. "Because COVID-19 has shifted many priorities it’s accurate to say we are being very strategic and deliberate on how positions are being evaluated and placed."
Kayla Friedrich is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: