Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi will depart Bowdoin for her new role as dean of students and associate vice president for belonging, engagement and community at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., on June 1.
At Emory, Odejimi will continue to advocate for student success, but she will do so with a focus on student belonging and involvement. Odejimi will be the first to hold the position in about 15 years.
She will manage eight departments tasked with building a dynamic campus community. The nature of the research university will have her work with both undergraduate and graduate students.
Odejimi became dean of students at Bowdoin in August 2019, less than a year before Covid-19 hit. Ever mindful of student well-being, Odejimi helped students navigate Covid protocols while finding community on campus, a facet of Bowdoin she came to value early on.
“It’s one of those things where people are asking you, ‘How are you doing?’ And they’re okay if you say, ‘I’m not doing well,’ and they genuinely want to hear, ‘Why aren’t you doing well? How can I help?’” Odejimi said. “It’s the sense of warmth from the community that I will genuinely miss from this place.”
Odejimi has also enacted impactful structural work on campus, including transitioning the student handbook into a comprehensive code of community standards and implementing a more sustainable and effective model for case management in the dean of students office last June.
“I am deeply grateful for the connections I have made with colleagues across this campus that have made myself and my family feel welcome in Maine,” Odejimi said. “My heart has been full with the amount of warm wishes that I’ve received, and I’m eternally grateful.”