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Mather House Grants Lassonde ‘Rampant Lion’ Award

Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde works in his office in University Hall on Monday afternoon in anticipation of Housing Day. Administrators have been increasingly concerned about the amount of time students spend on extracurricular activity.
Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde works in his office in University Hall on Monday afternoon in anticipation of Housing Day. Administrators have been increasingly concerned about the amount of time students spend on extracurricular activity. By Thomas W. Franck
By Jalin P. Cunningham and Ignacio Sabate, Crimson Staff Writers

In light of his recent departure from the Office of Student Life, Mather House Masters have awarded former Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde a new “Rampant Lion Award” award to commemorate his commitment to House life.

The award, named after the lions on Mather’s House crest, serves to honor Lassonde’s contributions to Mather, where he and his wife currently live. Lassonde left his former position as one of the College’s top administrators on Feb. 1, but will continue to work and live at the College until the end of the spring semester. At the semester’s close, Lassonde said he will leave Harvard.

Earlier this semester Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced that Lassonde would be leaving his post at the Office of Student Life. Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 shuffled into the College’s Interim Dean of Student Life post, and Sheila C. Thimba, Dean for Administration at the College, will lead the committee to search for a replacement for Lassonde.

“I was really flattered to get it,” Lassonde said, referring to the award. “I’ve been at Mather House for three years and loved every minute of it.”

Mather’s students and staff alike have lauded Lassonde’s what they called his strong presence in the House.

“He eats in the dining hall all the time, he talks to students all the time,” Mather House co-Master Michael D. Rosengarten said. “He has been a pillar and a really great person.”

Avni Nahar ’17, co-chair of Mather’s House Committee, said last week that Lassonde is “always a friendly face.”

Rosengarten praised Lassonde in a speech on Tuesday, saying that “Mather is proud to announce the creation of the Mather Rampant lion award for extraordinary Mather Fellows,” according to a transcript he provided to The Crimson. He said Lassonde purposely chose to live in Mather House, where he has helped make the residence a more welcoming environment for students.

In a post on a Mather House's public Facebook group, Rosengarten explained the symbolism of a rampant lion: “the rampant position is when a lion balances on one hind leg and uses the three others to defend itself. In fact looking back to the crest of the Mather family indeed the lions were rampant, so rampant lions are the symbols of Mather, and the defense for our house, our community and our people.”

At the OSL, Dingman has begun shuffling between his two deanships and plans to propose no "spanking-new" initiatives as he delegates work to other administrators.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalin.cunningham@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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