Camille Lizarríbar joins Tufts as new dean of student affairs, chief student affairs officer

The Jumbo mascot is pictured outside of Dowling Hall on Aug. 20, 2018. Mengqi Irina Wang / The Tufts Daily Archives

Camille Lizarríbar, dean of student affairs and senior associate dean of Yale College, was named the next dean of student affairs and chief student affairs officer for the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering in a Jan. 24 email sent to the Tufts community.

Lizarríbar will officially start in early July, filling the role vacated by former Dean of Student Affair and Chief Student Affairs Officer Mary Pat McMahon in July 2019 and held by Dean of Student Affairs and Chief Student Affairs Officer ad interim Nancy Thompson since September 2019.

The search process for a new dean of student affairs was chaired by Sam Thomas, dean of academic affairs for the School of Arts and Sciences, and Chris Swan, dean of undergraduate education for the School of Engineering.

Swan and Thomas both explained that Lizarríbar was a candidate with experience working across many different identities and student experiences.

“Dean Lizarríbar brings experience leading improvements for the student experience across multiple areas of student affairs, especially with students from under-resourced schools and low-income backgrounds,” they said in an email to the Daily.

Lizarríbar noted that her own identity translates into her understanding of the diverse identities in education.

“As a Latina who has moved through many cultural and professional spaces, I bring a multi-faceted perspective and a unique voice to the role,” Lizarríbar said in an email to the Daily.

Lizarríbar summarized the essential qualities she believes that she brings to the role.

“In my experience, being accessible, collaborative, and creative are essential to accomplishing meaningful and substantial work in a University, and I’m looking forward to bringing those qualities to my work at Tufts,” Lizarríbar said.

Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences James Glaser who, along with Dean of the School of Engineering Jianmin Qu, announced Lizarríbar’s hire in the announcement to the Tufts community, spoke about the admirable impression Lizarríbar left on the search committee.

“She has brought her expertise to bear on areas of great importance to us, such as financial aid, community values, health and wellness, and equity and inclusion,” Glaser said in an email to the Daily. “We’re looking forward to benefiting from her experiences on those topics, and to the new ideas she’ll introduce to Tufts.”

Similarly, Qu recalled the characteristics he saw in Lizarríbar suited to the position of dean of student affairs and chief student affairs officer.

She’s personable, open, innovative, experienced, and interested in engaging with students in order to improve student life at Tufts,” Qu said in an email to Daily. “Although we attracted many excellent candidates for the position, Dean Lizarríbar distinguished herself as the right person for this very important role.”

Christopher Rossi, dean of student life and engagement, was similarly impressed by Lizarríbar’s experience and is excited for her arrival next fall.

“She is someone who clearly enjoys spending time with students, identifying and amplifying their needs and bringing students into institutional decision making,” Rossi said. “Those were the real core qualities I know that I was hoping for in a candidate and that Camille really has all those things.”

Rossi also emphasized the importance of Thompson’s experience, leadership and willingness to step in after McMahon’s departure last year.

“To have Nancy for a year to set the stage for this recruitment to bring someone like Camille here, it is hard to overstate how important her contributions were,” Rossi said. “We would be lost without her.”

Lizarríbar explained that although the decision to leave her position at Yale was particularly difficult, since it was her family’s home and community for many years, she looks forward to her future at Tufts.

“Everyone has been welcoming and helpful, and I’m really looking forward to being part of such a vibrant and caring community,” Lizarríbar said in an email to the Daily. “Of course, I’m also nervous about being at a new place and moving, just like anyone else, but in the end that adds to the excitement of starting a new chapter.”

Lizarríbar brings to Tufts a wealth of knowledge in the academic, legal and student engagement fields. She holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and in French language and literature from Brandeis University, a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  Since 2016, Lizarríbar has overseen the student affairs division at Yale University.


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