The college announced new staff hires over the summer. Some of the most significant additions include Chief Advancement Officer C.J. Menard and several members of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Menard was hired after several months of searching. During this time, candidates interviewed with the board of trustees and President Biddy Martin. The process culminated with nine applicants visiting Amherst for interviews with a committee comprised of Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Weinman, Special Assistant to the President Susan Pikor and trustee Andrew Nussbaum ’85.
“From the start, it was clear to me that C.J. was a really strong candidate, and I’m delighted that he chose to come to Amherst,” Epstein said. “I really look forward to working with him.”
At Amherst, Menard will help steer the college in the Campaign for the Third Century, which was outlined in the 2015 strategic plan. The campaign, which launches in the fall of 2017, will focus on goals such as continuing efforts create a diverse community at Amherst and helping the liberal arts educational philosophy. Throughout this project, Menard hopes to learn more about Amherst as an institution, build relationships with donors and help move the college forward.
“I’ve had a number of different titles through the years, and it seems like every time that someone figures out that our name means fundraising, they change it to something else,” Menard said. “We use the term ‘advancement’ because the nature of our job is to support the advancement of the institution, making sure that it’s not sitting still, that it’s always moving forward and being the very best that it can be.”
Menard graduated from Colgate University in 1984 and worked in various corporate, development and film production roles before accepting the position at Amherst. His previous experience includes development positions at Colgate, Harvard Law School and Northwestern Law School.
Working in development at a liberal arts college has been one of Menard’s longtime goals.
“The recruiter, who I worked on this job with, is somebody I’ve known for a while,” Menard said. “About eight years ago we had breakfast in Boston and he said to me, ‘What is your ultimate job? What do you really want to do?’ and I said that I really wanted to be the chief advancement officer at one of the top liberal arts colleges. He delivered that in spades.”
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has also made several new hires this year, many of whom were announced in an email sent to the college community in June from Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Norm Jones.
In April, Dina Levi joined the office as the new director of inclusive leadership. In this position, she works to “bring strategic alignment that supports Amherst’s overall diversity and inclusion mission and vision through development of personal cultural competency, inclusive leadership and community engagement,” Jones said in a separate email interview.
Levi’s work over the next several years will focus on creating employee resource groups and offering workshops for faculty and staff on topics of diversity and inclusion, according to Jones.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion also hired five new people for positions that focus on supporting students at the college. Director for International Student Engagement Hanna Bliss’s office is new to Amherst this year. John Martin was named the new director of the Queer Resource Center (QRC). Babyface Card joined as program director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and is a race, gender and sexuality education specialist. Paola Gallego works as the administrative assistant to the Resource Centers, and Ismaris Ocasio now works as a dialogue coordinator. Angie Tissi-Gassoway, the former QRC director, is associate dean for diversity and inclusion.
Most of these new employees will work in Keefe Campus Center, where all the resource centers on campus are located. A new space in Keefe has been added for the Office of Campus Diversity and Student Leadership, which is led by Associate Director of Diversity and Leadership Tenzin Kunor. This office focuses on supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students, veteran students, transfer students and first-generation students, according to Jones.