After a monumental 30 years or service, former Wheaton Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing and Dean of Admission Gail Berson retired this summer.
Berson’s departure was announced in an email sent by former President Ronald Crutcher on May 19, and was followed by another email announcing the appointment of her successor a day later.
Over the past few decades, Berson did not simply watch Wheaton change and grow as a college, but was directly involved and essential to making the monumental changes and growth actually happen. Director of Admission Operations Judy Purdy knew Berson well and said, “Berson shepherded Wheaton through a time of transformative and innovative change. She helped the college advance its reputation and scope domestically and internationally.”
One of the most notable changes that took place during her time here was the switch that took Wheaton from being a female-only college to being a co-ed one.
“Gail lead the recruitment effort during the transition to co-education and was highly successful,” said Amy Markham, the director of admission and communication outreach. “She was a steadfast supporter of the trustees’ decision, often in the face of opposition.”
While Berson was certainly a part of the administration, she never let that stop her from forming a genuine connection with the students on campus.
“Gail felt it was very important to understand what Wheaton students wanted and [wanted to make sure] we were delivering what the Admissions Office was telling prospective students,” Purdy said.
While it can be tough to find an administrator that will be as dedicated and enthusiastic as Berson was, filling in for her role is Grant Gosselin, a former vice president of enrollment and dean of admission at Babson College. Some believe that Gosselin may be the perfect addition to the administrative staff here at Wheaton.
“[Gosselin] is ready and highly capable to take on his new role,” Purdy said.
There is some confusion as to why the switch was made, considering Berson seemingly was not very vocal about her retirement prior to it happening.
“Gail’s departure was sudden,” said Purdy, “Gail told her staff the day before the rest of the community was notified of her departure.”
When asked about why Berson left and if it was completely Berson’s decision to leave, Purdy simply said, “that is not for me to answer.” Markham did not answer a question emailed to her concerning the reason for Berson’s departure.
After such a long and incredible run, Berson’s creativity, experience and innovation will be missed by many, both in the faculty and student body.
Wheaton’s administration concedes that its future is still in good hands though, as Markham said, “[Gosselin] is bringing many strategies that were highly successful at Babson. My colleagues and I am excited to be working with him on these initiatives and look forward to collaborating with him to bring equal success to Wheaton.”
For more on Wheaton’s new Dean of Admission, Grant Gosselin, read Brandon Geiger’s ‘18 piece on page 5.