Hopefully most of you know that Dean Sylvia Terry, a constant supporting presence at the OAAA, and chieftain of the Peer Advisor Program has retired. I found this interview with her at UVa Today. Class of 2013, you just missed one of the pillars of the current black student community at UVa. In 2008, the Washington Post did a feature on Terry and UVa’s strength at retaining black students. For those of us lucky to have been at UVa during her 29 years here, e-mail her and let her know how much you appreciated what she did for UVa.
Check out highlights of interview after the jump
I often tell the story of my second year in admissions when the vice president for student affairs, Ernie Ern, invited me and others to a meeting he was holding of black students. The thing that touched me the most was a young man, and I remember his words: “U.Va. has done everything to get me here, but now that I’m here, nobody seems to care.” I never forgot that, because here was a student who had been recruited and who had come, but who was experiencing what I’ll call disappointment, experiencing isolation.
When I left that meeting, I went back to my office and I sat down and I looked at the black student admissions committee that I had organized. One of the things I immediately thought is, I’m going to add a subcommittee to check on students we had had contact with. I assigned members of the committee to the different residence halls, and they picked up where we left off – after two or three weeks, we were gone – but the students were there to check on the welfare of other students, and that was one of the forerunners of the Peer Advisor Program.
I found, probably about a year or two ago, a note that I had written Jean Rayburn, who at the time was dean of admission. She had sent out a note to the staff to ask if any of us had any ideas about ways of retaining students. I actually wrote – and I have it hand-written because we didn’t have the computers then – several things, and one of them was what I called a “Big Brother, Big Sister program.” I smiled when I read it because number one, I had forgotten about it; number two, when I read it, it was exactly the kinds of things I have done with the Peer Advisor Program.
You will be missed. Let us know in the comments section what you loved about Dean Terry.
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