Bidding a fond farewell to our campus leaders: You will be missed!

As the next school year looms near, the Division of Student Life is bidding farewell to three campus leaders who have left lasting legacies through their contributions to UW-Madison and the community. We took a moment to celebrate Lori Berquam, Kevin Helmkamp, and Diane Steele to wish them luck and thanks for their dedication to our students.

Dean of Students Lori Berquam is departing campus to partake in a fellowship through the American Council on Education at the University of Arizona. This opportunity is a natural next step for her, both professionally and personally, and she is honored to take on this new role in higher education. Berquam was known for her fun-loving and approachable style, appearing at events, snowball fights, in social media and in quirky videos that showcased her sense of humor. She also managed student affairs through critical issues such as student safety, bias incidents, diversity and inclusion, sexual assault, and expansion of services to marginalized students.

Kevin Helmkamp, an associate dean of students, will retire on August 15. Helmkamp has been integral into countless student initiatives serving forefront in the threat response and behavior intervention team, developing student protest guidelines, shaping the Our Wisconsin inclusion program, and advocating for the creation of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. He has served the campus community for nearly 30 years in University Housing and the Division of Student Life, and his direct approach and calm demeanor will be missed by colleagues and students alike.

Retired as of August 6, Diane Steele led human resources for the Division of Student Life helping guide professional and student staff navigate the complex university system. As human resources manager, Steele oversaw 100+ professional staff and up to 900 student employees at any given time, a task that was managed with compassion, care, and a welcoming laugh. Over the years, Diane has helped lead the charge to ensure equity in pay across the division, informed employees of benefits and on boarded them into their roles, and if needed, empathetically negotiated workplace disputes.

Berquam, Helmkamp, and Steele have served together in the Division of Student Life for over a decade, navigating uncharted territory and keeping the student experience at the forefront of decision making. Their long-standing vision toward building a better campus community has been unparalleled, and they have left a tremendous mark on everyone who had the fortune of crossing their paths. Thank you to Lori, Kevin, and Diane, you will truly be missed.

*A few highlights from the past several years include, but are not limited to (because we have a lot to be proud of in the Division of Student Life!):

  • Associated Students of Madison (ASM) used to be in the cramped spaces in the 5th floor of the Memorial Union.
  • The Center for the First-Year Experience (CFYE) was located in the basement of the Gordon Commons and known only as Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR); they then moved over to the Red Gym and transitioned from the Office of New Student Programs to the CFYE. The team moved again from the Red Gym to 21 North Park, to Ingraham, and now to the Middleton Building-arguably the most often moved unit.
  • Center for Leadership and Involvement (CfLI) was the second floor of the Red Gym as a student org office and offers over 1,000 student organizations.
  • The Dean of Students Office established the role of bias response coordinator as a permanent position. The position partners with the vice provost for faculty and staff to more effectively address classroom environments and interactions between faculty and students.
  • The LGBT Campus Center has become the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center (GSCC) and used to be located in Memorial Union, but located in the Red Gym. Soon, they will be moving into a bigger and better space in the Red Gym. The center recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.
  • International Student Services (ISS) has had a lot of growth and change to serve our growing body of international students, as well as a new office lay-out.
  • The McBurney Disability Resource Center has moved from an old bank in Grainger Hall where peopled used the bank vault as office space, to the Middleton Building, to East Campus Mall to be more centrally located. The department recently celebrated 40 years of service to UW-Madison students.
  • The Multicultural Student Center (MSC) has grown from a team of three and shifted their focus to engage campus into an inclusive learning and social justice environment.  In the Fall of 2018 two new “Cultural Center startup spaces” will take root in the North Mezzanine of the Red Gym. These spaces will include a Latinx Cultural Center and an Asian Pacific Islander Desi* American (APDIA) Cultural Center. Additionally, a meditation and reflection space, already part of the North Mezzanine area, will be reconfigured with improved, more permanent walls. The APIDA and Latinx Cultural Centers, like the Black Cultural Center dedicated in 2017, come in response to student communities’ desire and request for ethnic and cultural homes for organizing, identity development, and opportunities to honor and recognize the contributions these populations have made to the fabric of UW-Madison.
  • What used to be Student Advocacy and Judicial Affairs (SAJA) because the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS). The Dean of Students Office (DoSO) used to be a lot of things, including SAJA, and only a few years ago, OSCCS and the Dean of Students Office split into two departments to allow for more concentrated focus on both student assistance and student conduct.
  • We recently created the alumni relations and advancement coordinator position.
  • The main office used to be one small office in 75 Bascom. We now have a welcoming space that serves any and all students who stop in!