After four years of work with the Office of Residential Life, Director of Residential Life Jillian Yoder is leaving her position. While Yoder has been on parental leave this semester, Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities James Jackson has taken over her position. He will continue in this role until her vacancy is filled.
Yoder will move to Appleton, Wis. at the start of the calendar year as her wife, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions Robyn Bowers, takes on her new position as Dean of Admissions at Lawrence University.
“We love the Kenyon community and it is difficult to leave, but we are also excited about new opportunities,” Yoder wrote in an email to the Collegian.
Yoder’s departure is the latest in a string of resignations over the past year: Just two weeks ago, former Dean of Student Life Laura Kane announced her resignation from Kenyon, and former Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 left in May.
Still, Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas emphasized that these transitions do not detract from the overall Kenyon experience. “Kenyon is a campus whose student-centered education and experiences endure and thrive always, even when transition in colleagues occur,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “It is important to wish colleagues well who depart as their service to Kenyon is very much appreciated and we look forward to welcoming new members to our community who, like so many others, really dig this place.”
Yoder began her work at Kenyon as an assistant director of residential life in 2017. She supervised the first-year residential area, and was responsible for working with first-year and transfer students to ensure their successful transition to Kenyon life.
According to Yoder, one of the most notable and challenging experiences of her time at Kenyon was working to reunite students with their personal belongings when they left campus in the spring of 2020. “I’d so much rather work with people than their items!” Yoder said.
Limas will conduct the search process for Yoder’s replacement alongside a search committee composed of students and faculty members. According to Limas, the committee has received “great applicants” thus far, and will continue to review applications until December.
As Yoder looks towards new beginnings with her two-month-old son, Auden, she will fondly remember the experiences she had at Kenyon working with students to create a residential space that felt like home.
“I feel fortunate to have worked with such a dedicated, creative group of colleagues and students; there’s no doubt that the people are the very best part of life at Kenyon,” Yoder said. “I’ll miss students stopping in [the Office of Residential Life] to share updates, ideas, and questions.”
Limas recognized Yoder’s commitment to the Kenyon community, and said that both she and Bowers will be “greatly missed.”
“Both Jillian and Robyn have been phenomenal colleagues at Kenyon and in particular, Jillian has done so very much for the Office of Residential Life in her tenure,” he said. “We wish them all the best as they begin this new path.”