To usher in the new year, Kenyon has named Diane C. Anci as the College’s next dean of admissions and financial aid and Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 as the incoming vice president of student affairs. Both will start work on July 1 of this year.
A search committee chaired by College trustee Larry James and composed of faculty, staff and students reviewed numerous applications in search of Kenyon’s next dean of admissions and financial aid. The search committee was guided by Lahti Search Consultants, an executive search firm that specializes in searching for candidates for enrollment positions in colleges and universities.
Hanning Wong ’16, a student representative on the committee, said the group was looking for an applicant who not only understood the nuances of the dynamic relationship between administrators and students, but who also harbored a passion for the liberal arts. “We wanted someone … who really subscribed to the idea of the liberal arts, the Kenyon ethos and the commitment to students that the administration has,” he said.
Professor of History Jeffrey Bowman, another member of the search committee, agreed the best candidate would have a strong commitment to a liberal arts education, adding that he or she needed to be “a great sort of ambassador for the place — in other words, excellent at communicating the ideals of the institution but also [with] a sharp, analytical mind for the very specific, technical aspects of admissions.”
It was Anci’s 24-year tenure at Mount Holyoke, a liberal arts college in South Hadley, Mass., that made her application stand out among the rest. Anci worked as an admissions associate at Barnard College prior to departing for Mount Holyoke in 1990, where she served as dean of admissions beginning in 1998, according to Mount Holyoke’s website.
Both Wong and Bowman concluded that Anci’s extensive experience would enable her to follow in the footsteps of Kenyon’s last dean of admissions and financial aid, Jennifer Delahunty, who is transitioning into a new position as associate dean of admissions for the West Coast. “We felt confident that [Anci would] be a great person to continue the great work that Jennifer Delahunty has done over the past decade,” Bowman said.
Lydia Shahan ’15, another student representative on the committee, was also attracted to Anci’s respect for Kenyon’s history. “She made it really clear that she really values the character of the institution and was excited about getting to know Kenyon’s culture and about opportunities to bring that message to interested prospective students,” Shahan said. Anci could not be reached for comment.
A separate search committee headed by Professor of Sociology Marla Kohlman and guided by the firm AGB Search considered applicants for the position of vice president of student affairs. According to Professor of Mathematics Judy Holdener, a member of the committee, they were searching for an applicant who would facilitate growth among the student body. “We continually asked ourselves which candidate would be best able to work toward creating an optimal environment for student growth,” Holdener wrote in an email.
Bonham, too, has worked in higher education for over two decades. The senior associate dean of students for strategic initiatives and Title IX coordinator at Hamilton College since 2011, Bonham has a personal tie to Kenyon, as she graduated with a degree in history from the College in 1992.
Bonham’s personal characteristics made her stand out as well. “I found her to be thoughtful, observant and measured,” Holdener wrote. “She also struck me as somebody who exemplifies the liberal arts in that she is a lifelong learner,”
In the announcement posted on Kenyon’s website early this month, Bonham said she was “inspired” to know she would be part of the College’s future with regard to student affairs, which has been led and will continue to be guided by Dean of Students Hank Toutain. Bonham could not be reached for further comment.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Diane Anci and Meredith Harper Bonham could not be reached for comment. They were not contacted for comment. The Collegian regrets the error.