I have had help from countless partners on and off campus, but I would love to introduce you to the people on whom I’ve depended daily—hourly—a superb team that I am so grateful for and who deserve credit for the accomplishments of the past years.
Sara is the assistant to the dean and helps me with a mountain of administrative processes and timetables. Sara’s involved in the life of a faculty member from start to finish: when we fly in a candidate for an interview, Sara is making the travel and lodging arrangements, and when faculty retire, it’s Sara who arranges our wine and cheese celebration for them. On a typical day Sara is likely helping me with a dozen things ranging from drafting communications, monitoring complex processes like tenure, promotion and mentoring, and, most importantly, helping me get together with people who need me, whether here in Ithaca or around the country. I will always be grateful for Sara’s humble, quiet wisdom, sensitivity, and uncanny perceptiveness. Not only does she keep track of a million details, she has a sixth sense about the “heart” of our group and contributes greatly to our sense of connectedness.
Sheila’s title is “External Relations Officer” and, as that suggests, she plays a critical role in every relationship I have outside the School of Music. Those amazing alumni reunions and receptions you’ve attended? Sheila has a big hand in making those happen. If I have travel that takes me to some new city, it’s Sheila who researches which alumni, parents, donors or friends of the college might be in that city and helps us get together. She nurtures our relationships with places like Kendal, Longview, Cayuga Medical Center and other local organizations. I rely on her to help us stay connected beyond the campus, and beyond Ithaca, with our partners across the country. One of the things I love about working with Sheila is that our work can become quite intense, at times, very detail heavy and, at certain times of year, one thing after another. But we share a common love of food, family and hearty laughter that makes the work light, even when the load is heavy.
While Associate Dean David Pacun and I may have slightly different titles, it is telling that within the school and among its leadership team, people more often than not refer simply to “the deans.” He has a complicated portfolio of responsibilities, playing the lead role in supporting our students’ academic, musical, physical and mental healthiness, helping to lead budgetary, curricular, and academic planning processes, and supervising a large staff. But beyond this, David is an inseparable partner in virtually everything I do. I rarely make a critical decision, craft an important document, or begin a new initiative without consulting him. He is an incisive thinker, brilliant writer, and one of my very favorite editors. It is unlikely you’ve seen an important communication from me that hasn’t been passed by his red pen. I am profoundly grateful to David for his invaluable partnership of the past seven years.
Bradley is our Director of Music Admission, playing the lead role in bringing in the future classes of School of Music students. He could not have had better preparation for that position, because, like you, he’s also an alumnus (B.M., Music Education, 2016.) No one could know our program better or speak more personally about us to students and families. Many of you have gotten to know Bradley in his travels around the country to spread the good word about Ithaca, and I’m pleased that he was able to attend some of our larger alumni reunions with me during this past year. Bradley is a consummate, dedicated, serious professional disguised as a friendly, easygoing guy who is a heck of a lot of fun. He brings a confident and positive presence to work that is often challenging, now even more so. Our future is in good hands.
Bradley works closely with Assistant Director of Music Admission Felice Doynov.
Finally, I want to mention someone from outside the School of Music team who has contributed profoundly to our relationship with alumni. Jon Gregory of Alumni and Family Engagement has provided tremendous support for many of the School of Music’s alumni receptions across the country, support that ranges from logistics through financial support. When more than fifty people show up for our pizza lunch at the Midwest Clinic? Jon picks up the tab. The IC “swag” that I got to hand deliver to those of you attended our alumni reunions at TMEA, CMEA, in Los Angeles, and Washington, DC? That’s Jon too. And if Sheila and I ask, “Jon, can you help us contact School of Music alumni living in the state of California so we can invite them to our event” we usually get that by the end of the week. Jon has been a tremendous partner in finding, communicating with, and gathering our family across the country, and I am deeply grateful for his partnership over these past years.