Emily W. Stokes-Rees, resident dean of Cabot House, will leave Harvard this summer for a tenure-track position at Syracuse University.
Stokes-Rees, an anthropologist who joined the College administration in the summer of 2012, said that her departure from Cabot is coming a year or two earlier than she anticipated, but that it makes sense considering the opportunity at Syracuse.
Stokes-Rees called her time as a resident dean “two years of just really intense learning and personal and professional development” in an interview Tuesday. Adding that her upcoming departure will provoke mixed feelings, Stokes-Rees said that she will miss the students and staff in Cabot “enormously."
“Cabot has been an amazing place,” Stokes-Rees said. “I will miss this community.”
In an email to the Crimson, Cabot House co-masters Rakesh and Stephanie R. Khurana wrote that Stokes-Rees’s departure is “bittersweet” for them.
“During her two years, Emily has made numerous contributions to the intellectual, social, and personal well-being of our students,” the co-masters wrote in the email. “She has been a great student advocate and has worked tireless hours in pursuit of supporting students academically and personally, as well as the community overall.”
Sharon L. Howell, longtime Adams House resident dean, called Stokes-Rees a “brave, committed person” in an interview Tuesday, saying that she “brought a real intellectual energy” to the role. “She stayed true to her nature as an academic and made sure to think about her role in the House through that lens,” said Howell, who will also depart Harvard this summer.
Howell added that she and others at the College will “miss [Stokes-Rees’s] real compassion and energy for working with students."
Stokes-Rees, who also lectures in the Anthropology department within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, came to Harvard after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University. Stokes-Rees joined the College administration in what was a tumultuous year, as the Administrative Board investigated the Government 1310 cheating scandal, Harvard’s largest in recent memory.
Howell said that Stokes-Rees “took on the role at a difficult time with a lot of grace and good humor.”
Stokes-Rees, for her part, said she recognizes that the year was an “enormous amount of work” in retrospect. Since she was new to the role when the Ad Board investigated the case, she pointed out that she “didn’t know what life as a resident dean would be like otherwise.” She added that this current academic year has been “intense in other ways.”
“I think the resident dean position, no matter what form it takes, is going to be busy,” Stokes-Rees said.
Cabot House Committee Co-Chair Caroline R. Breinin ’15, who entered Cabot House the same year that Stokes-Rees took up her position, said her resident dean “has been fabulous” over the last two years.
“She’s been a great part of the Cabot community,” Breinin said. “I think something really special to the Cabot community is how Stephanie, Rakesh, and Emily have been able to foster such an inclusive [community], and she’s been a wonderful part of it.”
The announcement of Stokes-Rees’s departure comes ahead of what will be a period of transition for the Ad Board. In addition to Howell and Stokes-Rees, Interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister—who serves as the chair of the board in his capacity as the College’s top administrator—and Ad Board Secretary John “Jay” L. Ellison will both be leaving their positions this summer. Although Rakesh Khurana has been appointed to succeed Pfister as dean of the College, administrators have yet to appoint a permanent successor to Ellison.
—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.
—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.