Several times this past year we have seen notices in The Hurricane that the dean of something or other was changing. I will be honest, most of the time I rarely paid attention to these notices unless it really impacted me. My guess is that most students are oblivious to the fact that one of the most prized and honored administrators on our campus is retiring this year. Furthermore, I suspect the majority of people really have no idea what a lasting impression this man will leave, not only on our campus, but on students like myself as well.
Dean William W. Sandler Jr. has served as the dean of students since 1989 and has been an administrator here for 43 years. It is because of his efforts and initiatives that we have a Center for Drug and Alcohol Education and a student-run Honor Council. Additionally, he helped in granting students representation on the Rathskeller Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees. More noteworthy is the fact that he is the one responsible for making sure we are all out of harm’s way. He has been one of the first administrators to go over to the Ashe Building these past weeks to ensure students were safe, and he was the one at the hospital with Ashley Kelly the night of the horrific accident last year.
When I joined the honor council in the spring of my freshman year, Dean Sandler went from being a figure head to being a mentor. He would let me study in the office if I had a long break in the evenings before a hearing so I wouldn’t have to fight the masses in the library for a computer. If I had a question about how to contact a department or join a student organization, he was the first one I asked. He helped me pick my major, and change it later by talking me through my concerns and helping me make the best decision for me.
But, my most memorable conversation with him was when I told him I was considering changing my carrier aspiration this past September of my senior year. I was upset and trying not to show it, but fruitless in my efforts. As I explained to him what I was thinking of doing instead, he immediately began reassuring me on what a positive decision I was making and how he was sure I would succeed. It was, and still is, times like these when I wonder if he believes in me more than I do. He is the example of what defines a mentor for me and I value his advice a great deal. I am sure he will be greatly missed by many of us when he leaves, but additionally, I hope the student body appreciates his extraordinary efforts to help better our student experience. Without him, our University would never be the way it is today. His dedication not only to UM but to individuals such as myself is exceptional, and while I have great confidence in the new incoming dean of students, I am extremely thankful for William Sandler’s support these passed four years.
Megan Shepter is a senior majoring in psychology. She can be contacted at email@example.com.