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Dawn Thompson
Dawn Thompson, vice president for student life at UD, has announced her retirement, effective Sept. 15.

Dawn Thompson announces retirement

Photo by Evan Krape

José-Luis Riera to serve as interim vice president

Dawn Thompson, vice president for student life at the University of Delaware, has announced her retirement, effective Sept. 15. Dean of Students José-Luis Riera has been named interim vice president.

“It has been my greatest professional honor to serve as the associate vice president and dean of students and as the vice president for student life over the last nine years,” Thompson said. “It has been an amazing opportunity, and I am grateful that I have had the chance to be a part of this great University.”

Thompson joined UD in 2008 as assistant vice president for student life and was named associate vice president for student life in 2009. She assumed the role of interim vice president in August 2013 and was named vice president on Nov. 1, 2013.

Under Thompson’s visionary and strategic leadership, the Division of Student Life became more student-centered and responsive to contemporary needs. She established the positions of LGBT program coordinator and director of student diversity and inclusion. Among other initiatives, she launched the Campus Coalition for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, a University-community partnership to develop practices that help reduce the risks associated with alcohol abuse.

“The University is a better place for students because of Dawn’s dedication and leadership,” President Dennis Assanis said. “She always demonstrated both professional excellence and a sincere concern for students’ well-being and success. It has been an honor to work with Dawn, and we wish her a long and enjoyable retirement.”

Provost Domenico Grasso called Thompson’s departure a “personal and professional loss.”

“Dawn has been a tremendous asset for UD,” Grasso said. “She created a culture of assessment and learning in Student Life, which has resulted in an organization that strives for continuous improvement. I am so grateful for her leadership of our talented Student Life team and have always appreciated her commitment and dedication to our students and their success. I am very sad to see her go.”

Before coming to UD, Thompson was executive director of housing and residence life at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition to her 11 years there, Thompson held administrative assignments at Ithaca (New York) College, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.

A graduate of Wittenberg University, she holds a master's degree in student personnel work in higher education from The Ohio State University.

UD's Division of Student Life supports the University's educational mission through student advocacy, innovative services and programs that promote learning, personal development and well-being, and academic success.

The division's 11 departments include the Career Services Center, the Center for Black Culture, the Center for Counseling and Student Development, the Office of the Dean of Students, New Student Orientation, the Office of Student Conduct, Residence Life and Housing, Student Health Services, Student Services for Athletes, Student Wellness and Health Promotion, and University Student Centers. 

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