Skip to content

Announcement: Farewell to Diane Paxton

Greetings, members of the Emerson community,

It is with gratitude and appreciation — and more than a little bit of sadness — that I announce that after 15 years of outstanding service to Emerson College, Diane Paxton, Director of Student Accessibility Services, will be leaving Emerson to begin a well-deserved third act. Diane’s last day will be Tuesday, April 30.

Please join us for a farewell gathering to celebrate Diane on Monday, April 29, from 4 – 5:30pm in the Private Dining Center (bottom floor of the Dining Center, underneath the Lion’s Den).

Diane joined Emerson in 2009 with a longstanding passion for the arts given her previous life as a costume designer, and a professional background in disability and student support. She single-handedly grew the humble department of one into a tremendous, highly respected team that now touches all parts of campus. There are few departments she hasn’t collaborated with as she’s developed policies and procedures and continually pushed the College to recognize accessibility as integral to inclusiveness. Above all, she has been a compassionate listener and fierce advocate for students with accessibility needs of all kinds from physical to psychological to learning – from working with 100 students in her first year to 1,000 students currently on SAS’s caseload, a ten-fold increase.

Diane steered the department through an identity change from Disability Services to the new Student Accessibility Services to be more welcoming and inclusive. Toward that end, she created the Accessibility Advisory Board, developed accommodations for emotional support animals, meal plans, and international programs, offered the first Boston location for the Reel Abilities film festival, and was always poised to respond to the constantly changing legal landscape.

In addition to expanding support to other campuses and programs, it’s likely she’ll be most remembered for one contribution: bringing therapy dogs to campus with the creation of the Cirque De-Destress in tandem with colleagues Patty Challan and Cate Schneiderman, for which they jointly won a Spirit of Emerson Award. She is also the recipient of the Emerson Award of Excellence.

After reading a study that found taking care of plants improves well-being, including mental health, Diane, a plant whisperer, started collecting mugs and vessels and cultivating plants, giving more than 200 to students visiting the 5th floor of UBank.

Diane is an award-winning artist whose work crosses many disciplines–quilting, book-making, embroidery, natural dyeing, and gardening. These interests will compete with her passions for social justice and travel, particularly throughout India. With more time to dedicate to these passions, she will undoubtedly have an impact on the greater community that matches the impact she has had on Emerson.

Please join me in expressing gratitude to Diane for her commitment to Emerson College and its students, faculty and staff as we wish her well in her third act.

All best,
Chris Daly
Associate VP for Student Affairs

(Visited 243 times, 1 visits today)