Toomajian to retire at semester’s end

Charles Toomajian, registrar and associate dean of the College, will retire on Dec. 9, the final day of classes for the semester. Barbara Casey, associate registrar for student and faculty services, will take his place as interim registrar on Jan. 1. Toomajian has served as the College’s registrar for 25 years. 

Toomajian finalized his retirement with the College just before the semester started; the announcement was made to the student body on Monday, and the College made the decision to instate Casey as interim registrar this past week.

Dean Bolton explained that Casey will lead the rest of the registrar’s office staff in an effort to reconfigure the office to maximize efficiency. The College has no set timeline for finding a permanent registrar to succeed Toomajian.

“With his retirement, we want to take some time to think about what the best configuration is for the registrar’s office,” Bolton said. “Very fortunately for us, the staff in the registrar’s office have broad and deep expertise, so we are well positioned to take some time to think through what will be best for the future.”

Over his 25 years of service, Toomajian has seen the College make the transition from a paper-based registration system to its current online version, including the introduction of PeopleSoft 12 years ago. “When I came here, it was only the second year that student records were computerized,” Toomajian said.

He added that he has seen the way people communicate at the College change significantly during his time here; he remembered that it was not until nine years ago that there were adequate cell phone towers, and that e-mail has changed the way offices interact with students.

Prior to his time at the College, Toomajian served as a registrar at William and Mary for eight years.Toomajian has interacted with the College community in multiple ways since his arrival on campus. He cited the faculty-staff bowling league he joined in his first year as a particularly fun experience and added that the Simon Squash Center has been another great source of athletic fun.

In 1989, he joined a group of students on their Winter Study trip to Tbilisi, Georgia, when Georgia was still part of the Soviet Union. He returned to Europe in 1993 to help set up a registration system at the University of Armenia that would meet American standards. He has since hosted nine Armenian high school exchange students at his home in North Adams.

“His impact on the College and its students has been tremendous,” Bolton said.

Toomajian explained that his office has been able to make significant improvements in recent years. One project the office will continue to work on is improving the accessibility of transcripts online such that students and alumni will be able to order their transcripts and send them to institutions and employers without filling out paper forms.

He emphasized that the office’s efforts have been highly collaborative. “I oversaw a very, very good team of people,” Toomajian said, citing Casey, Associate Registrar Mary Morrison and the rest of the support staff as integral to registration’s improvements.

Toomajian explained that he and Casey have scheduled several transitional meetings as she prepares to assume the interim registrar position.

“I’ve worked with Charlie for over 22 years; he’s been a wonderful mentor,” Casey said. “[There are] definitely big shoes to fill; however, his wisdom, guidance and advice that I have benefited from over the years are ingrained in the way I approach things, so I hope that will help make the transition fairly seamless.”

Bolton expressed confidence about Casey’s appointment as interim registrar. “Barbara Casey was selected as interim registrar because of her long-standing and very successful work with both faculty and students in a variety of contexts,” Bolton said. “She’ll do an excellent job leading a fantastic group of people in an office that is crucial to everything we do academically.”

Toomajian plans to retire to Sioux Falls, S.D., with his wife in the spring.

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