Associate Director of Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS) and Quaker Advisor Liz Keeney will retire from Kenyon College following over 31 years of administrative work for the College.
Keeney, who has worked as Associate Director of SASS since 2016, coordinates academic and dining accommodations for students with disabilities on campus. Over her 31 years at Kenyon, she has focused her career on lowering barriers to academic achievement for students with disabilities, along with working to improve working conditions for faculty members at Kenyon. In the 1990s, Keeney convinced senior administrators at Kenyon to provide benefits for domestic partners, which she emphasized has allowed Kenyon to retain faculty members who may not have been able to remain at the College otherwise. In an email to the Collegian, Keeney said that this moment was likely what she was most proud of throughout her career.
“That has improved the lives of the impacted individuals, but has also enriched the entire community,” Keeney wrote.
Throughout her time at the College, Keeney acknowledged the progress that Kenyon has made in expanding accessibility for disabled students, and how support for students with disabilities has changed over the last three decades. “There were three students who were blind, one student who was deaf and one student with dyslexia my first year,” she wrote. “I am delighted that many more students with disabilities have a chance to attend and thrive at Kenyon today.”
Keeney also discussed how her own experiences have contributed to her work on campus, particularly in SASS. “As a disabled person who came of age pre-[Americans with Disabilities Act], I am constantly aware of the constant presence of barriers to success in education and employment even now,” she wrote. “I am proud of how far Kenyon has come and I look forward to seeing future progress.”
With retirement on the horizon, Keeney is excited about the opportunity to rest and relax. She will continue living in Gambier, and currently plans to continue private practice in academic tutoring and support. “I also plan to read the books that have accumulated that I haven’t had time to read, spend more time watching birds and out in nature and volunteering,” she wrote.
Vice President of Student Affairs Celestino Limas emphasized the effect that Keeney has had on campus, particularly in her positive impact on the lives of students with disabilities. “It’s hard to imagine Liz not here, because Liz has been such a staple at the institution,” Limas said. “There’s a certain way that people like her have very long shadows that continue on after she departs. She will be very much missed, but I know that my colleagues in Chalmers [Library] and throughout campus are very grateful for the time she has given us.”