By Gianluca D’Elia
After serving as Westminster Choir College’s dean of students for nine years, Lawrence Johnson stepped down on Oct. 9. Johnson, who holds a master’s degree in education administration and a juris doctor in law, is ready to embark on a new endeavor as a college administrator.
In August 2014, Johnson was offered a position as the director of non-discrimination and compliance at Westfield State University in Westfield, Mass.
“In this position I will be ensuring that the university complies with all civil rights legislation,” said Johnson. “Westfield was looking for someone with a law degree and higher education experience, and I apparently met their expectations.”
Although the position was offered to him in August, Johnson decided that it was too close to the opening of the fall semester at Westminster, and therefore set his start date at Westfield State for Oct. 20. This will be a different experience for Johnson, considering that Westfield State is a public institution. Also, since Johnson will be working out of the president’s office, he says that his exposure to students will be limited.
Johnson’s departure was only recently announced, but many students made sure to say goodbye as soon as they heard the news.
“Those who did know about my departure made it a point to either visit me or send notes,” said Johnson. “The Student Government Association also presented me with some wonderful parting gifts, including a framed photograph of Westminster students with a kind and touching message.”
Johnson will also miss the staff from the associate dean’s office of students. He is thankful that these colleagues have guided and assisted him through his nine years at Westminster.
“Donna Balducci, Elizabeth Davala, Chris Botti and Jane Ferrick are the lifeblood of that office,” says Johnson. “Together, they create a warm, welcoming and supportive atmosphere for anyone who comes into the office or with whom they have any contact.”
Looking back on his nine years at Westminster, Johnson said that the most rewarding part of his time there was definitely the students, who are passionate, bright, incredibly talented, and most importantly, respectful and caring of their campus and each other. Johnson said that Westminster’s student body is a wonderful group of students for a dean to work with.
He will begin working at Westfield State on Oct. 20. Cindy Freed will fill his position at Westminster.