‘An amazing person’: Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell leaves UC Berkeley

Student Affairs Communications/Courtesy

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Two weeks ago, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell announced his departure from UC Berkeley.

Greenwell will be joining Columbia University in New York City, where he will create and support campuswide student services as vice president for student affairs. His last day at UC Berkeley will be Aug. 2.

“This is an exciting opportunity, for him to go to Columbia,” said former ASUC president Alexander Wilfert. “The environment there is great, and he gets to expand his portfolio. He is an amazing person that never shied from challenges and always wanted to make life better for everyone.”

Before coming to UC Berkeley in 2014, Greenwell was the dean of students at San Francisco State University, where his work had a significant impact on students, according to the Golden Gate Xpress.

Greenwell has an extensive history of working with student affairs and campus climate issues. According to an announcement by Suzanne Goldberg, executive vice president for university life at Columbia, Greenwell’s extensive portfolio includes a wide array of work on issues concerning free speech and student behavior. He has also worked with UC Berkeley’s student union and with numerous campus departments.

“He brought a positive spirit and open-mindedness to a lot of student issues,” said campus alum Arturo Fernandez. “He was always willing to listen and help us and support us as needed. … He was very willing to act on student opinion and troubles.”

According to an announcement from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton, Greenwell provided support to students on issues surrounding student wellness, campus climate, sexual violence and sexual harassment, deaths, campus protests and community safety. The announcement added that Greenwell engaged with students and collaborated with faculty to help students have a “holistic undergraduate and graduate student experience.”

Greenwell said he has enjoyed his time at UC Berkeley and that the students, staff and faculty have made it a special place for him. He added that during his time at the campus, he wanted to build relationships between students, faculty, programs and associations to help and support students.

“Berkeley has been very kind to me, and it has bettered me as a person,” Greenwell said. “I’ve learned an extraordinary amount from everyone at Berkeley and in the Berkeley community.”

Greenwell said he will miss UC Berkeley’s students and faculty, adding that he appreciates their desire to benefit the community to bring about the change they want to see.

Greenwell has had a great impact on UC Berkeley and its people, according to Fernandez and Wilfert. Fernandez sees Greenwell as a leader and a person who seeks to lift up underrepresented voices in the community. According to Wilfert, Greenwell was dedicated to his goals. Both agree that Greenwell was an inspiration and said he will be missed by the campus community.

“I’m very grateful to the staff, students and faculty at UC Berkeley,” Greenwell said. “This has been a very emotional time for me, and I have appreciated all the incredible responses to the announcement of my new opportunity. I’m going to miss Berkeley, and I deeply care for this community. I’m going to keep in touch and try to bridge the programs we have here with the ones at Columbia.”

Contact Suryan Bhatia at [email protected].