After 11 years at Emory, Dean of Campus Life and Senior Vice President John Ford announced his plans to retire in August 2012 earlier this week.
In his current position, Ford has been responsible for the organization, delivery and finances of programs and services in multiple University departments.
He has also served in various leadership groups including the President’s Cabinet, Administrative Council and Strategic Implementation Advisory Committee. Ford has been the chief administrative executive for the Campus Life Committee of the Board of Trustees during his time at Emory as well.
Ford wrote in an email to the Wheel that he is proud of all of his accomplishments and the experiences that Emory has provided for him.
“I will leave Emory in August 2012 with appreciation because I love Emory and cherish my friendships here,” Ford wrote. “I have accomplished most of what I came here to do.”
Ford came to Emory in January 2001 when he and his wife were offered what he described as “outstanding opportunities for personal growth and development.”
Prior to his career at Emory, Ford served as the Robert and Elizabeth Staley Dean of Students and professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University from 1992 to 2000.
He became senior vice president and dean of campus life in 2001.
His wife Hilary also came to Emory at that time.
She retired from her position as assistant dean for graduate student services in 2006.
“We saw that we could contribute our talents to make a positive difference in students’ educational experience,” Ford wrote.
Ford added that working at Emory has affected him greatly on a personal level, enabling him to become a “more effective mentor for staff and students.”
“I have learned that the undergraduate educational experience is the heart of Emory University,” Ford wrote. “I broadened my intellectual, political and social horizons in Atlanta and in Georgia after living in Chicago, Boston, Ann Arbor and Ithaca, New York.”
University President James W. Wagner wrote in an email to the Wheel that Emory will miss Ford’s presence, citing themed freshman housing, the Second Year at Emory (SYE) program and the new student leadership program on campus as some of the key examples of Ford’s accomplishments and contributions to the Emory community.
“His very calm and steady approach working always to raise the standard of campus life for our students at Emory has had great impact, not only on our own campus, but on other campuses throughout the nation where what Dr. Ford’s has accomplished at Emory is well recognized,” Wagner wrote. “He has been a great colleague and friend, and I look forward to working with him during this final year of his Emory career.”
The scope of his areas of responsibilities is broad, Wagner mentioned, because Ford’s of breadth of overseeing ranges from residence life to student health, from Greek life to food service.
“I have enjoyed working very closely with him on a number of opportunities and issues and have learned a great deal from his depth of experience and wise approaches,” Wagner noted.
Ford himself commented that he is proud of several of his accomplishments, such as enhancing the living and learning experiences for undergraduate students through several means.
He wrote that he is particularly proud of facilitating numerous recognized clubs and organizations, planning and implementing advising programs for freshmen residing in recently construction LEED-certified residence halls as well as the creation of the Michael Kaminsky Intramural Park.
He also cited increased access to the student health and counseling services and the strengthened career services as some of the other accomplishments of which he is proud to have contributed to the Emory community.
“My greatest memories are joyous commencement ceremonies, inspirational campus visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, fun and games in Dinners with 12 Strangers and provocative question-and-answer sessions in the annual Carter Town Hall event,” he wrote.
Susan Henry-Crowe, dean of the chapel and religious life, said that Ford has supported Religious Life immensely throughout the years, deepening its relationship with residence life, athletics and greek life, among other departments, for which they are appreciative.
“His contributions to Emory are characterized by an expansive understanding of the role of the University in shaping public life, the importance of forming young people for civic engagement and enhancing extracurricular life in the University,” Henry-Crowe commented. “Our friendship has forged engagement in ways that contribute to positive morale and to the common good.”
Henry-Crowe described her relationship as a “personal friendship with [his wife] Hilary and John Ford,” adding that she looks forward to their friendship in years to come.
As for Ford, he hopes to spend more time with his family, enjoying music and theater productions, kayaking and traveling to destinations such as Australia and Brazil.
Wagner wrote that in searching for a successor to Ford, the administration will call a search advisory committee and help supplement their work with support of a search consultant “in order to engage a deep pool of candidates from which [they] hope to identity a highly qualified individual who is also a great match for Emory.”
“It is difficult to predict exactly how long such a search might take,” Wagner wrote. “But we are fortunate that Dr. Ford has given us a generous amount of advance warning of his departure.”
Wagner wrote in a statement that the University “will take time later” to celebrate Ford’s achievements.