The College and the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) will lose an important part of the housing reform puzzle when Tom McEvoy, director of housing, resigns from his position on Jan. 18. McEvoy has accepted a dean’s position at Union College in Schenectady, NY, which requires his mid-year resignation from his post here at Williams. During his 13 years at the College, McEvoy worked with many faculty members and students in order to ultimately improve the quality of residential life.
Steve Mischissin, the director of facilities and auxiliary services for the department of Buildings and Grounds, summed up his feelings on McEvoy’s departure when he said, “Students have always been a priority to him. We appreciate his commitment to the College and wish him the best of luck in the future.”
McEvoy has been named the Dean of Residential and Campus Life at Union. He will be responsible for revamping the current housing system and designing student activities that will develop a sense of community on the campus.
McEvoy views his new role as a dean as an exciting opportunity.
“I feel fortunate that I will be able to define in large part the scope of this new position and the impact that it will have on students’ lives,” McEvoy said. “I’ll be working with the director of residence life and that office’s student staff [community mentors and advisors] as well as with the director of student activities to establish a stronger residential house system.”
McEvoy, a CUL member, has recently been a leader in the discussions regarding changes to the residential housing system at the College. McEvoy’s knowledge of the campus has been important in helping the CUL to answer the challenge by Morton Schapiro, President of the College, to rethink residential life at Williams. Earlier this year, McEvoy expressed his personal belief that the anchor-affiliation model, one of the options under consideration by the CUL, would be a better option than a cluster system.
McEvoy did consider the fact that decisions have not yet been made concerning the innovation of the housing system when he decided to take the position at Union. However, he chose to accept the job in part because of his confidence in the CUL.
“It is difficult to leave in the middle of the year, especially with my involvement with the CUL’s Strategic Planning for Student Life Initiative,” McEvoy said. “However, the planning and proposal process is nearly complete and I feel that the hardest work has been done over the last three semesters.”
McEvoy’s experience as the director of housing has undoubtedly prepared him for his role at Union College. Throughout his time at Williams, he has been committed to projects concerning undergraduate life. In his time on the CUL, he has contributed to improvements to the Log and to the creation of the “Bell Book,” a guide to housing and residential life at Williams for incoming first-year students.
Charles Dew, professor of history and chair of the CUL, enjoyed working with McEvoy.
“He brought an unparalleled knowledge of residential life to the CUL concerning basically everything that goes on outside of this classroom,” Dew said. “He combined this knowledge with a wonderful integrity and was respected and trusted by students, staff, and the faculty members. We will miss him dearly.”
In addition to his efforts with the CUL, McEvoy has been involved in projects with the security department and the Housing Committee, such as dorm renovations and the creation of an alcohol education video for first-year students.
Director of Campus Safety Jean Thorndike reflected on McEvoy’s tenure at Williams by describing him as “thoughtful and caring. He embraced his Williams family with the same commitment and enthusiasm that he shared with his own family. We’ll miss his helpful nature, his sincerity and his sense of humor,” she said.
McEvoy has also developed many strong relationships with the students of the College. Elliot Morrison ’04, a representative on the CUL and a house president, described McEvoy as “the most valuable resource that the college has in terms of his knowledge of the physical campus and the student body.”
“The best thing about Tom is that he can not only deal with people, but he really does care about them, and about the College as a whole,” Morrison continued. “He, more than any of the house presidents themselves, felt that our position was one that needed to be strengthened as a critical part of the college community.”
McEvoy remains modest about his contributions to the College. He acknowledges the community of people surrounding him as an integral part of his success.
“Many of the accomplishments I have had could not have been done without student help,” McEvoy said. “We have a fantastic body of students here, who work very hard at all that they do. I have also been privileged to get to know many of our faculty. Students should know that the faculty I have worked with take a real interest in them.”
McEvoy has certainly made his mark on the College during his time here. Even though his new role of Dean of Residential and Campus Life for Union College is an excellent opportunity, McEvoy realizes that he will miss the College.
“After thirteen years, it will be hard to leave this beautiful place we have here,” he said. *