Dear Faculty and Staff,

With mixed emotion, we share Dr. Jessica Uhlig’s difficult decision to depart from Saint Mary’s and her role as dean of academic support services. Due to family commitments, she will leave the Saint Mary’s community effective March 13. We appreciate her service and compassion for students during her time with us.  

We are extremely fortunate to appoint Mr. Scott Walker, M.A., as interim dean of academic support services. As associate vice president for strategic planning, Scott serves as the main point of support for the university’s strategic initiatives. He has a strong grasp of student success, retention, and first-generation initiatives. A lifelong educator and former high school administrator, Scott is deeply committed to providing all students with academic, social, and cultural support. He was immediately identified as the natural leader to fill this role due to his love of Saint Mary’s and sincere dedication to its mission. We are certain that the sustainability of Saint Mary’s will greatly benefit from his vision, steady hand, and depth of expertise during this time of transition. 

As we have been working on strengthening and formalizing the structure of academic support services, we have had the unique ability to assess and analyze team strengths and responsibilities. We are fortunate to have a strong understanding of our future direction, which will culminate in a formal search process in the coming weeks. While we provide this news with some disappointment, we also have an unwavering knowledge that our students will continue to be supported and celebrated with a tremendous team of committed staff and faculty. 

Brother William Mann founded the First Generation Initiative (FGI) in 2010 to ensure the academic success of first-generation college students, or those who are the first generation in their family to attend a postsecondary institution. When students – especially first-generation students – understand that they have a well-rooted support network, they have a much greater ability to form bonds and navigate their goals. This is something Dr. Uhlig helped strengthen, and the team she leaves behind is committed to continuing that effort. I want to express my gratitude to all of our faculty and staff for creating our vibrant and caring community at Saint Mary’s.  

Thank you, 

Max Bonilla, SSL, STD
Provost and Dean of Faculties

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