Tacci Smith, former associate dean of students, left Kenyon earlier this month to join the administration at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.
Smith declined to be interviewed for this article, but wrote in an email to the Collegian that, “I never wanted to take another position mid-year as it was very difficult to leave this suddenly, but Kenyon will always have a special place in my heart.”
According to Trevor Kirby, president of the senior class, Smith worked at Kenyon for 11 and a half years. He said she made the switch in part because Otterbein is her alma mater, and also because of the special projects position she was offered. Kirby added that, most importantly, she will be working with her first mentor, who introduced her to the student affairs field.
Smith was involved with numerous student organizations and projects during her time at Kenyon. She was at one point director of the new student orientation program and also served as the director of student activities in her earlier years. She served as advisor to numerous student groups at different points, including the Senior Class Committee, Junior Class Committee, Theta Delta Phi, Queer Women’s Collective, Owl Creeks and Dance Team, according to Kirby, who added that this was likely not an exhaustive list.
Dean of Students Hank Toutain said Smith also served as a conditional enrollment advisor for many years and was instrumental in organizing events for the senior class, such as Senior Soirée, Fandango and Senior Week. She was involved in establishing the UhaulCarShare program and played a role in establishing a stop for GoBus on campus and. “I found her to be a very student-centered colleague who often went to great lengths to be of help to students,” Toutain said.
Laura Kane, director of student activities and Greek life, will be assuming a number of Smith’s former responsibilities, including her role as advisor to the Senior Class Committee, according to Kirby. Additionally, Sam Filkins, assistant director of student activities for leadership, will be taking on her former role as advisor to the Junior Class Committee.
Mike Durham, substance abuse educator and counselor, spoke to Smith’s instrumental involvement with the College’s party policy and party training, saying, “She felt very strongly about student safety and students as adults and being treated as adults.” He added that, going forward, Kane will be working with him on the policy and to conduct party-training sessions.
Kirby called Smith a “model associate dean, and really like a pillar of the Kenyon campus,” Kirby said. “And so going forward in hiring somebody, I think it’s important to remember the culture that Tacci helped to create and just the people person that she was and loved being.”