Section: archive

Advisees praise Decatur’s help

By Staff

When Amelia Loydpierson ’17 learned that her faculty advisor was President Sean Decatur, one thought entered her mind: “Is that good or bad?” But only a couple of weeks later, she has a schedule that accommodates both her varsity swimming demands and her pre-med ambitions. She can also now say that she has eaten ice cream with the president ラ bragging rights few others possess.

“He was just really invested in how we were doing and how everything was going on campus, and ナ he just brought kind of an overview of college,” she said.

Loydpierson is one of three advisees Decatur took on this year. Jackie Hsu ’17, a fellow advisee, credited Decatur with helping her craft a manageable class schedule. “I was thinking about doing bio lab with my chem lab. ナ But he convinced me not to do my bio lab and save it for next year. ナ That was a good plan, because I already think I’m overbooked,” Hsu said.

The advisees did most of their initial course planning with their Upperclass Counselor, Darko Gligorovski ’14, who spoke glowingly of his experiences with Decatur. “[At] first I was kind of scared, but once I got to know him, he’s amazing,” Gligorovski said.

In advising students, Decatur is resuming a practice that past College presidents Robert Oden Jr. and Philip Jordan Jr. followed, according to College Historian Tom Stamp. Decatur’s immediate predecessor, S. Georgia Nugent, did not take on advisees.

“If you walk on the Middle Path and you see him, he will stop and talk with you, which wasn’t the case with the previous president,” Gligorovski said. The three advisees also all noted that Decatur has been highly accessible and visible in their few weeks on campus.

“I’ve seen President Decatur most days that I’ve been here,” said Ian Edwards ’17, Decatur’s third advisee. “Not even because of a meeting. It’s like, oh, I just see him on a jog or I just see him around. ナ He’s a nice guy, very easy to talk to, very easy to be around,” he added.

Gligorovski echoed Edwards’ sentiments, saying, “When you meet [Decatur] and you talk to him, you don’t get the impression that you’re speaking to the president of the College. He’s very, very down to earth, very close with people, and he wants to get to know you as a person, as a student, as a friend, you could even say.”

Decatur wrote in an email that he thought advising “would be a great way to get to know a small group of students well, and to experience at least a piece of the faculty perspective at Kenyon.” He added that being an advisor motivated him to familiarize himself with the specific requirements and processes of registration.

After registration ended, Decatur followed up with his advisees to see how it went. “Short emails, but just kind of touching base with us,” Loydpierson said.

Decatur and Gligorovski met roughly five times for planning purposes before meeting with the advisees as one group. When they met at Cromwell Cottage, Decatur “did a lot more listening, I would say, than advice-giving,” said Loydpierson. “He definitely pushed the ice cream.”

“He was so into knowing us that he forgot his ice cream,” said Hsu. She added that 45 minutes passed before Decatur noticed his ice cream had melted.

“A couple of hours of discussions with the first years was all I needed to see that Kenyon students are exactly as advertised: excited about academic work, interested in a broad range of subjects, mature and relaxed in conversation,” wrote Decatur. “I’m looking forward to getting to know them even better over the year.”

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