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Ron Ludman, dean of students, to retire

Ludman, Ron

Dean of Students Ron Ludman is retiring this summer after a 37-year career at Emerson College. (File Photo)

President Lee Pelton shared with the Emerson community today that Dean of Students Dr. Ron Ludman intends to retire at the end of this academic year after nearly four decades of service to the College.

Associate Dean of Students Sharon Duffy will become the Interim Dean of Students on July 1, 2015.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege and honor to have collaborated with wonderful colleagues, both on the faculty and in the administration, at this truly magical place we know as Emerson College,” Ludman said. 

“I feel enormously blessed to have had the incredibly good fortune to meet, work, and get to know thousands of passionate, inquisitive, and talented Emerson students from all corners of the globe. The students, in particular, have deepened and enriched my life in ways that I could never have imagined, and it will be those interactions and relationships that I will treasure most and most miss,” Ludman said.

Ludman first arrived at Emerson in 1978 as Director of Career Services. He became Assistant Dean of Students in 1980 and was quickly promoted to Associate Dean of Students that same year. He has served in his current role as Dean of Students since 1982.

When he became Dean of Students in 1982, the College’s student enrollment was 1,761 students (1,571 undergraduates and 190 graduate students), less than half of what it is today. Over the decades, the number of students relying on the services provided by the Division of Student Affairs has risen steadily. The number of staff on his team to serve those students has more than doubled, from 30 to 70.

“Ron has served Emerson and the thousands of students who have attended the College and their parents and guardians during his tenure with integrity, tireless energy, compassion, and commitment,” Pelton said. “The College has been the happy beneficiary of his wise counsel; his deep understanding of Emerson student life; and his calm, empathetic, and sensitive approach when working with students, faculty, and staff,” he said.

Among his numerous achievements, Ludman professionalized and expanded support services, integrating systems and programs to strengthen the student experience. He established and founded the College’s first Counseling Center (ECAPS); restructured Health Services (CHW) to operate as an advanced practice-led center; and oversaw recent substantial renovations and expansions of both to increase capacity and enhance mental and physical health services for students.

He played an instrumental role in developing facility plans and opening seven different residence halls: Charlesgate, Arlington Street, Little Building, Piano Row, Paramount, Colonial, and Emerson Los Angeles.

Ludman co-wrote and managed three Department of Education grants that enabled the College to staff and expand student services in the areas of career development and alcohol and other drug education.

Most recently, Ludman chaired the Athletic Working Group that developed a strategic plan to strengthen our athletics program in support of the College’s educational mission and in preparation of our joining the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).  He also oversaw the recent renovation of the Fitness Center.

“Ron will be sorely missed. However, I am delighted that Associate Dean of Students Sharon Duffy has accepted my invitation to serve as Interim Dean of Students, beginning July 1, while we initiate a national search to find a permanent replacement,” Pelton said.

Duffy has been a valued member of the Student Affairs team for 14 years and has served in her current position for 13 years, leading Student Life’s operational areas. She has played a leading role in creating and facilitating an integrated and holistic learning environment to complement student learning outside of the classroom; led the facility and operational planning of the Max Mutchnick Campus Center; and supervised the annual orientation and student move-in day that is one of Emerson’s signature programs. She holds a master’s degree in higher education policy and research analysis from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, from which she also earned a Bachelor of Science.

“Please join me in congratulating Ron on his retirement,” Pelton said. “We will have the opportunity to celebrate his significant legacy at an open reception before the conclusion of the academic year.”

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