After working in student affairs for nearly three decades, Brian McAree, vice president of student affairs and campus life, retired Aug. 23 for health-related reasons. McAree began working at the college in 1983 as the director of residential life and was named assistant vice president of student affairs and campus life in 1989. On Aug. 24, Provost Marisa Kelly assumed McAree’s student affairs responsibilities as part of her new title as provost and vice president of educational affairs.
Assistant News Editor TinaMarie Craven spoke with McAree about his fondest memories working with students at the college and about how he plans to spend his retirement with his family.
TinaMarie Craven: How do you feel about the reorganization of academic affairs and student life under Marisa Kelly?
Brian McAree: I’ve worked with Marisa now for the past year. She is a fantastic leader, and I think she is really excited about the possibilities for the reorganization. This is an opportunity for Ithaca College to really bring academic affairs, student affairs and campus life much closer together and to create integrative learning opportunities for students. It’s an exciting opportunity for so many people at the college to work closer together on achieving that vision.
TC: What has been the most enjoyable aspect of your position?
BM: Two of the most enjoyable parts of my career here at Ithaca College have been, first of all, working with the students that I’ve had the opportunity and the pleasure to work with over the last 29 years. I started my career in residence life, and it’s been a joy to see the students over the years, meet them, help them in any way I can, try to work with my staff to produce some really exciting learning opportunities for students and see them grow over the years. It’s been a real pleasure to watch a number of the students that I’ve actually gotten to know over the years to go into the student affairs field. And it’s not just me; it’s my staff and all of us working together to kind of inspire students to pursue student affairs as a career. And the other absolute joy is working with the staff here at Ithaca College — the staff and the faculty. Over the years, people have asked me “Why do I stay at Ithaca College? Why have I been there so long?” and I tell them it’s the people and how wonderful it is to work with such hard-working, dedicated staff.
TC: How would you describe your time at the college?
BM: It’s just been a fantastic journey to watch students come in as nervous freshman with the world in front of them and the opportunities in front of them and then for us to support them as they go through those four challenging and exciting years and see them come out as really mature and well-grounded, confident adults.
TC: What are you most looking forward to in retirement?
BM: Well one of the things that I’m actually doing is retiring for health reasons, and the goal right now is to concentrate on my health and to do everything I can to be healthy. I’m excited about the possibilities of joining an exercising program and just taking care of myself and spending many happy years with my wife and my children and my friends.
TC: How would you like the campus to remember you?
BM: I’ve been getting emails and cards and phone calls from students, former students and faculty across campus and other people affiliated with the campus. It’s been neat to know that I’ve had such a positive impact on members of the community. The thing that they’ve shared over and over again is my passion for the place, my compassion for people, the students and faculty over the years. I just hope people remember me as someone who loved what he did, gave 110 percent all the time and hopefully have touched people in a positive way while I’ve been here.
TC: Is there anything you would like to impart on the campus?
BM: We should all remember why we’re here, and that’s for the students. Ithaca College wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the students. Each student that attends Ithaca College is a precious gift, and we need to remember — all of us, faculty and staff — why we’re here as much as we can for our students.
Learn more about the merger between student affairs and the academics division.