College names dean of students


Eileen Sullivan. Courtesy GVSU

A local college has found its new dean of students.

Grand Valley State University said last month that it has named Eileen Sullivan vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students, effective July 1.

Sullivan, most recently the dean of students at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, replaces Bart Merkle, who served as dean of students at GVSU for 32 years.

In her new role, Sullivan will serve as the senior Student Affairs officer and provide leadership for the Division of Student Services.

Sullivan said she was drawn to GVSU by the school’s ability to provide students large university opportunities in a small-college atmosphere.

"I am overjoyed to be joining a team of talented student affairs professionals and accomplished senior leaders who have created opportunities for learning that have allowed students to thrive both personally and academically," Sullivan said. "I have dedicated much of my career to partnering student affairs with academic affairs, toward the goal of greater outcomes for students, and I hope to continue that work at Grand Valley."

GVSU Provost Gayle Davis said she’s “delighted” to bring Sullivan to the school, where “her wide and deep experience in student affairs and her creative approach to the work will serve us exceptionally well."

"She is a collaborative leader with a strong record of advocacy for all students," Davis said.

Sullivan’s background

Sullivan has served as dean of students at Elmhurst College since 2007.

Previously, she worked at Northern Illinois University, first as special assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs and then as assistant vice president for Student Life.

She has also spent time as vice president of Student Development at Loras College, as well as executive assistant to the president, policy analyst and director of the University Values Initiative at Bowling Green State University.

Sullivan holds a doctorate of philosophy in higher education administration from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Eastern Illinois University.

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