Prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year, it was announced that a number of members of faculty and staff would be departing Wellesley College: Dean Rebecca Garcia, as well as Community Directors (CDs) Kristen Park, Pamela Cortés Ortiz and Martha Zamora. Garcia will next be a dean at Williams College, and Park is pursuing a PhD at the University of Denver.
Many students are now reflecting on the positive impacts these members of the Wellesley community have left. Nyana Wright ’24 expressed gratitude for Garcia’s help over the past year. “Even when I was studying abroad, she was FaceTiming me,” Wright said. “Like there was a period where she was FaceTiming me, especially while I was at Wellesley [on campus], every other week.”
In addition to serving as a dean for the Class of 2023, Garcia was also the director of WellesleyFirst (a program supporting first-generation students) and WellesleyPlus (a program specifically for first-generation first-year students).
“For me specifically, she helped me figure out my financial situation first and second year especially, and then my third year as well,” Jasper Saco ’22 said. “She would have people from SFS come to WellesleyPlus meetings so we could get to know them. She definitely helped me find my way at Wellesley and was always there to listen to my problems, no matter how small.”
Saco also mentioned Park’s impact during her time at Wellesley as a coordinator for first-generation students.
“She was always very open, [saying,] like, ‘Come to my office hours, let me talk to you,’ and … was always very present and very affirming for first-gen low-income stuff,” Saco said.
Stone Davis Hall’s 2020-21 House President (HP), Angela Liu ’21, added that Zamora was “a pleasure to work with” over the past year.
“They’re a super nice person, and they obviously cared a lot about the Stone Davis community,” Liu said. “I was worried about being the only HP of Stone Davis because normally there’s two, but they really pulled a lot of weight and just made sure that everything was doable.”
Saco and Liu both noted the importance of these staff members being people of color, and of Zamora being openly queer.
“Them coming in was the start of a change at Wellesley, and just having a CD like Martha made it, I think, easier for students to relate to them,” Liu said.
Housing and Res Life have been in the process of hiring new CDs for the year. Director of Residential Life and Housing Helen Wang stated that vacancies in residential life are normal for most colleges and universities.
“I was speaking to folks [at UMass Lowell], where they have three vacancies, so res life in general is oftentimes searching over the summer,” Wang said.
Don Leach, former CD of Lake House and the Branch Halls, will be interim CD for Tower Court this year, and Rhonna Bollig, associate director of Residential Life & coordinator for Community Standards and Integrity, will be interim CD of Stone-Davis.
Additionally, Anna Ehrlich has been hired as the new Sev-a-Claf CD.
“I personally hired every single one of those human beings, who I love deeply, and I am so excited for where they’re heading and the things that they’re aspiring to do,” Wang said, referring to the community directors.