I was recently asked to write one or two short paragraphs to congratulate Dr. Laura Dean on being selected as an ACPA Diamond Honoree and to say some words from a (former) student’s perspective. While I can only speak from my experiences, I would be blown away if these were not representative of the hundreds of students who have worked with her.
It would be easy to start with a student affairs cliché and say that Laura appropriately supported and challenged me. In fact, I can think of a specific situation when I was in need of some very serious support, which she gave, and even in that very moment challenged me appropriately. But, on a deeper level, she understands the often unstated, yet necessary, component in the equation: readiness. She expertly knew when to push me, when to get out of my way. She even knew when to tell me I was being lazy or crazy. What’s more, she did all that without being explicit about it. In Dr. Dean, I have found a collaborator, a colleague, and a friend.
Laura is a big fan of Nautilus shells. And, I found out during my time at UGA that the poem The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes had a lot to do with it. I imagine that this is due to her commitment to helping students build “more stately mansions.” But, I also think the metaphor works for Dr. Dean’s legacy. Each class of students that moves through the program builds a body of evidence demonstrating the lasting influence of her contributions to our learning and development. What she leaves behind does not disappear; rather, her ongoing effort and dedication creates a nautilus shell whose beauty cannot be ignored.
Congratulations, Laura, on being an ACPA Diamond Honoree.
Dr. Dallin Young – CSAA-D ’12
Assistant Director for Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition