Associate Dean Neil Gerard Receives Service Award From the Association of American College Unions International
Neil Gerard, associate dean of students at Pomona College, was recognized for his decades of service to the Association of American College Unions International (ACUI), with the organization’s Honorary Membership award, during their annual meeting earlier this month in Chicago. The honor is conferred on those who have given exception and usually reserved for college union and student activities professionals on their retirement.
Gerard announced earlier this spring that he would retire after 18 years at Pomona College. He was hired in 1993 as an associate dean and charged with overseeing the creation of a “campus center worthy of Pomona.” The building opened in 1999 and a major renovation completed the building in 2007. That work included the creation of the Living Room, Doms Lounge, the exhibit gallery and renovated spaces for the Coop Fountain and Sagehen Cafe. For Gerard, “The most visible signs that what we did worked was the clamor from students to extend building hours and the desire by the faculty and staff to reserve spaces.”
Gerard’s full title at Pomona College is associate dean of students and director of the Smith Campus Center and Student Programs, and director of Bridges Auditorium. He is responsible for student activities from Orientation Adventure to Ski-Beach Day; advising the ASPC, yearbook, International Student Mentor Program, and Challah for Hunger; and chairing the Pomona College Distinguished Speakers Series Committee, which most recently brought Bill Gates and civil rights activist Van Jones to campus; among other duties. He is also a past president of the Hillel Council of the Claremont Colleges, has been very active in the Community Friends of International Students and advises the Jewish Student Union.
Throughout his career, Gerard has been active in the ACUI, whose mission is to support its members in the development of community through education, advocacy and the delivery of services. According to ACUI President Peg O’Sullivan, who presented the membership award, “Exuding passion for ACUI is one legacy Neil Gerard will leave behind upon his retirement this year.” She added that, “Some of his best service was as the President of ACUI. Neil’s outstanding dedication to this field and ACUI was recognized when he was selected for the Butts-Whiting Award.” Gerard has also served the organization as a regional representative and chair of both the College Bowl Committee and the Taskforce on International Membership, among many other leadership positions.
According to Miriam Feldblum, Pomona's Dean of Students, "Neil's work in developing the campus center and the student programs has really given Pomona College national prominence. His extensive knowledge about what is going on nationally has meant that our students benefit from the cutting-edge ideas and programs that are truly the best suited to Pomona. He also has a wonderful ability to connect with students. His skill in helping them to implement their ideas and to take ownership in the campus community has helped to make Pomona a stronger, richer place."
Prior to coming to Pomona College, Gerard worked as Cal Poly Pomona, Adelphi University in New York and the State University of New York Agricultural and Technical College at Alfred. He earned his M.B.A. from Adelphi University and his B.A. from CUNY Queens College.