Nelson To Leave College for Colgate

Harvard College’s Dean of Student Life Suzy M. Nelson will move to Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., to take over as dean of the College there in June, according to a statement on Monday by Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst.

“Suzy brings an important set of skills and experiences to Colgate,” Herbst said in a press release announcing her appointment.

Nelson came to Harvard as associate dean of residential life in 2005. She was appointed dean of student life in 2007.

In her current role, Nelson has overseen programs including student organizations, the Women’s Center, offerings for BGLTQ students, and public service initiatives for the past five years.

Her work at Colgate will focus on many of the same themes of residential life, inclusion, and service.

“Suzy will play a vital role in fostering a rich set of living experiences, promoting discussions across differences, developing service opportunities, and helping to ensure that Colgate students live vibrant and healthy lives,” Herbst added.

In the Colgate press release, Nelson cited both personal and professional reasons for accepting the new position.

“Given Colgate’s proven reputation as an exceptional liberal arts college, with an enriching and complementary student life program, I am eager to embrace this new professional opportunity,” she said.

She added that she and her family will return to upstate New York, where she, her husband, and her four children “have roots.”

Nelson, who earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration at Syracuse University and her undergraduate degree at the State University of New York at Potsdam, has previously worked as an administrator at Syracuse, Cornell University, and Siena College—all in New York—as well as Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Prior to that, she taught English in two New York school districts, according to the Colgate press release.

—Staff writer Eliza M. Nguyen can be reached at


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