As she greets old friends and acquaintances at her 10-year reunion this May, Kim Pacelli '98 may encounter a few raised eyebrows when she tells her former classmates her planned profession for the next three years: student.
Director of Residential Life Kimberly A. Pacelli, known for her competence, intelligence, sense of humor, and penchant for impromptu Boggle games, will leave Bowdoin at the end of this academic year to enroll at the University of Maine Law School.
?I?m ready, personally, to take my career in some new directions,? Pacelli said, explaining her decision to pursue a J.D. ?I was a pre-law person when I was here and I have always thought about law as a terminal degree, but have gone off and on with the idea over my career,? she told the Orient.
?Whether it is new information to keep doing what I?m doing but look at it through a different lens or whether the law program is going to open my eyes to some other open door that I don?t even realize right now?[it?s] really exciting and personally renewing,? Pacelli said.
Energized about taking the next step in her career, Pacelli said she also felt sadness in leaving.
?I feel, in much the same way the seniors do: you?re sad to be leaving?this is a fantastic place,? she said. ?And in much the same way you hear so many students talk about how much they love Bowdoin, I feel the same way, but you?re also excited for what?s next.?
Many of the people Pacelli works with are sad to see her go.
?Kim is a principled leader and a person of impeccable integrity,? Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster wrote in a campus-wide e-mail announcing her departure. ?Students and staff will miss her sympathetic ear and good counsel and advice. Her colleagues and I will especially miss her strong problem solving skills, ability to get things done and wicked sense of humor,? he wrote.
?I think Kim has been really instrumental in changing what Res. Life does and how it functions,? said Pooja Desai '08, who has been on the Residential Life staff for three years. ?The longer you are here, the better an idea you have of what the school needs.?
And Pacelli has been here a long time. ?I?ve worked in this program now for nine years, if you include my time here as a student,? she said.
Pacelli began her involvement with Residential Life as a sophomore when she became a proctor in Moore Hall. As a junior, Pacelli was one of the three students on the Trustees? Commission on Residential Life which, in effect, phased out fraternities at Bowdoin and created the College House system.
After graduating, Pacelli left for a time, only to return as an Assistant Director (A.D.) of Residential Life for two years.
On her second departure from Bowdoin, Pacelli moved to Cambridge, Mass. where she got a Master?s Degree at Harvard?s Graduate School of Education. She subsequently worked for the Department of Education in Washington D.C.
It was late in the 2003-2004 academic year when Bob Graves, the previous director of residential life at the College, left his post to take a position as a dean at another school. Without time to conduct a full search for a replacement, then-Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley asked Pacelli to step in as ?an interim director of residential life for a year until the College could have enough time to run a proper search,? Pacelli explained.
When a nationwide search to fill the position was conducted in 2004, Pacelli was chosen.
?It was very exciting for me when she was chosen as director because I had enjoyed working with her as an A.D.,? Operations Manager for the Office of Residential Life Lisa Rendall said. ?It goes without saying that Kim is very intelligent and very well-spoken.? Rendall also noted Pacelli?s sense of humor as an aspect of her personality that makes her easy to work with.
?Kim and I have shared a lot of laughs over the years which really makes working with one of the enjoyable aspects of my job. We work really hard so when we can find opportunities to have a laugh to release the stress, it?s really a bonus.?
Rendall also explained ?that Kim is a Boggle queen. Students will often challenge her to a Boggle game and she can rarely refuse even if she is in the middle of a lot of stuff,? she said.
?And Kim is usually victorious,? Rendall added.
As for her post-law school plans, Pacelli is leaving her options open, but does not rule out the possibility that she might return some day to the College.
?I might end up back in higher ed., I might want to practice law, I might want to get back into public policy work,? she said. ?But I am committed to Maine.?
?Kim has Bowdoin in her blood,? Foster wrote in his e-mail to the community. ?She has left and returned to the College on two occasions. After developing a new set of skills and experiences, perhaps we will be able to lure her back a third time.?