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Sad News About an Emerson Community Member

Dear Emerson Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to share that Karen Dickinson, former Director of Building Operations and Business Services, died Friday, Jan. 26, after a battle with cancer.

Karen played many roles during her 25-year career at the College. She joined Emerson in 2000 as a Residence Director, supporting undergraduate students; over the years, she would continue to mentor the students who passed through the Business Services office as student workers.

The following year, she was named Manager of Conference Programs and Event Support, before joining Business Services as Assistant Director in 2004. In 2013, she was promoted to Director of Building Operations and Business Services, a post she held until last fall.

“Karen was incredibly funny, as well as an invaluable leader of the business services team, who always brought a can-do attitude to everything she was involved with,” said Duncan Pollock, Associate Vice President of Facilities & Campus Services. “She will be missed, not just by us, but by colleagues across campus, for her humor, her joyfulness, and her unfailing kindness.” 

Karen was Vice President of the Class of 1995 at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she also earned a Master’s in Education. She worked for Simmons College prior to joining Emerson.

She and her husband, Jason, loved the great outdoors, skiing and camping, as well as the great indoors, sharing food, cocktails, and a boundless sense of fun. One of her favorite places to visit was Disney World in Florida.

In addition to her husband and his family, she leaves her mother, Judith Zanni; her sister, Bridget Zanni; her brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Joanna Zanni, and her nephews in North Carolina. She adored her nephews, sharing their stories and photos around the office at every opportunity. 

The family will hold a celebration of Karen’s life in early March, according to her obituary. Donations in her memory may be made to the Massachusetts General Brigham Cancer Center or the Massachusetts Nurses Foundation. The College will hold a memorial gathering on campus in May, and will share more information when it becomes available.

Wherever she went, whether at Emerson or on one of her many adventures, Karen brought her signature wit and warmth. She will be deeply missed by her colleagues and students across campus and over the years.  

Sincerely,
Paul Dworkis
Vice President, Administration & Finance
Chief Financial Officer

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