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October 1, 2014

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Bluffton names VP for student life, dean of students

Julie DeGraw

Dr. Julie DeGraw, a dean at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Ill., has been named vice president for student life and dean of students at Bluffton University. She will assume her new duties in mid-July.

As a member of the President's Cabinet and the university's chief student affairs officer, DeGraw will provide leadership for student life programs, services, planning and assessment. Her responsibilities will include oversight of residence life, campus ministries, multicultural affairs, career development, the student Leadership Development Program, Marbeck Center and the student health center.

"Dr. DeGraw's professional preparation, experience, philosophy of student life and, most importantly, demonstrated commitment to the welfare and personal development of the individual student will serve Bluffton well," said President James M. Harder in making the announcement.

"She has studied and worked at two Christian liberal-arts colleges and, most recently, has gained additional leadership experience in an urban community-college setting with a very diverse student population."

Since 2008, DeGraw has been dean of counseling, advising and transfer at the College of Lake County, a community college north of Chicago. In that position, she has managed programs and the hiring, training and supervising of 45 faculty and staff members in four departments.

She holds a master's degree and a Ph.D. in higher education, both from the University of Michigan. Her doctoral program included a concentration in academic affairs and student development. She also earned a master's degree in counseling from Michigan State University, in 1995.

DeGraw's bachelor's degree is in English and secondary education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Graduating from Calvin in 1988, she returned in 1990 as a resident director, a position in which she planned and led spring-break service trips to Detroit, South Carolina and the Dominican Republic. She then served, from 1994-97, as a counselor and as coordinator for student leadership development.

From 1997-2004, she was director of first-year programs and disability services at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

DeGraw's appointment is part of a restructuring of the Bluffton President's Cabinet that separates vice presidential responsibilities of enrollment management and student life into two roles, while adding dean of students responsibilities to the student life position.

Dr. Eric Fulcomer has been vice president over both areas since 2005 and will continue through the end of the academic year. Ron Headings was hired in February as Bluffton's new vice president for enrollment management and marketing, also beginning in July.