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Wolfe named senior vice president and dean of student affairs
Thomas V. Wolfe has been appointed senior vice president and dean of student affairs at Syracuse University following a recommendation by Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor and approval by the executive committee of SU’s Board of Trustees. His appointment is effective immediately.
Formerly the dean of Hendricks Chapel, Wolfe had served as interim senior vice president and dean of student affairs since early June, when Barry L. Wells stepped down to assume a new role with the University.
“During his time here at SU, Tom has developed a strong understanding of our student culture through his work with students and his interactions with Student Affairs,” Cantor says. “This past summer, in guiding the division through the completion of a self-study and organizational realignment, he gained an extraordinary in-depth knowledge of each department and earned the respect and confidence of the Student Affairs staff. I can think of no one more qualified or better prepared for this position.”
As dean of Hendricks Chapel, Wolfe was widely respected as a collaborative leader and skilled facilitator. He brought this same approach to the Division of Student Affairs this past summer, leading DSA staff through an in-depth self-study and creating a new structural model in keeping with national best practices in student affairs, but tailored to fit the unique needs and culture of SU. Three working portfolios were created-Health and Wellness; Student Learning; and Inclusion, Community and Citizenship-with an associate vice president leading each and reporting to Wolfe.
“This new structure, and the emerging partnerships it makes possible, ensure that the Division of Student Affairs places the highest priority on student-oriented programs and services,” Wolfe said in late August in announcing the realignment. “These groupings of offices tell the world what we are about. They are designed to be attractive to students and transparent for the community to see and understand.”
“Dr. Wolfe’s recent performance as interim senior vice president and dean of student affairs has been remarkable,” says SU Board of Trustees Chairman John H. Chapple ’75. “The work he has already accomplished in just the last few months is a testament to his knowledge of the University and its constituents, and his highly effective and strongly collaborative leadership style. His rapport with and understanding of students is unparalleled, and the division, its staff and the entire student body couldn’t be in better hands. The members of the executive committee of the Board join me wholeheartedly in applauding this appointment.”
Trustee H. John Riley ’61, a member of the executive committee and chairman of the Student Affairs committee, concurs: “In my contacts with Dr. Wolfe over the last four months, it has become clear that his past experience and, of equal importance, his forthright and participative management style, make him an ideal choice to lead the University’s Student Affairs division.”
Wolfe’s experience at SU spans 18 years. He had been dean of Hendricks Chapel from January 1999 through June 2008, when he was named to his interim appointment in Student Affairs. While at the chapel, in addition to his administrative responsibilities, he facilitated countless University-wide forums and committees, and interacted with numerous students, faculty and staff, including as chair of the University’s Wellness Task Force, co-chair of the Critical Incident Response Team and co-chair of Chancellor Cantor’s inaugural steering committee in 2004-05.
He helped escort the Hendricks Chapel Choir on a two-week performance tour of China in May 2005 and led 18 students on an interfaith study trip to Turkey in March 2007. Each summer, he co-teaches the graduate course “Critical Incident Management in Higher Education” through SU’s School of Education.
Before becoming dean, Wolfe served as the interdenominational Protestant chaplain at SU. Prior to that, he was pastor of United Methodist parishes in Moravia and Ithaca, N.Y.
Among his civic interests, Wolfe is the former president and a current board member of InterFaith Works of CNY. He chaired the 2008 White Ribbon Campaign for Vera House and served two terms on the Vera House board, and was board president in 2006. He remains involved in a variety of community initiatives that bring diverse people together to address common concerns.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lycoming College, a master of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from SU. He is an ordained elder with the North Central New York Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Wolfe and his wife, the Rev. Marilyn N. Wolfe, formerly senior pastor of University United Methodist Church in Syracuse and currently a full-time student in the M.S.W. program in the College of Human Ecology, live in Syracuse.