After twenty years working for the Maryville College community, Dean of Students Vandy Kemp has now retired. In recognition of her impact on campus and in the area, the faculty came together to pass a resolution honoring Dean Kemp and her commitment to diversity and social justice at the college.
The text of the resolution cites Dean Kemp’s many achievements and contributions to the college, stating “…she has impacted the lives of every student on campus by her strong leadership in key areas of Student Development, such as Title IX compliance, connecting Athletics and Academic Affairs, and transforming residence life into a key educational component”
The resolution serves as a way for faculty to step back from the day to day operations of the college and think more about the values the institution was founded on, and how those values should impact the everyday work of the faculty.
I interviewed Dr. Andrew Irvine, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Maryville College, about the passing and inception of the resolution itself. According to Irvine, many faculty members wanted to pass a resolution since Dean Kemp was retiring.
Irvine also stated that the resolution serves as a way to honor and memorialize Dean Kemp’s service. The last time such a resolution was passed was in the case of Martha Hess, a registrar who worked for Maryville College for several decades.
“The resolution testified that the faculty wanted to be with Vandy on those issues, whether it’s the students that lack financial resources, students of color, undocumented students, gender diverse students,” said Irvine, “We have many different kind of students and we want to make everyone stronger.”
Dr. Irvine said some of his best moments with Dean Kemp were simply going to her office and chatting.
“She was someone who had a really good eye for the big picture . . . [she was] very approachable and down to earth,” said Irvine.
Irvine also talked about the importance of the resolution. “Recognizing that Vandy lived out the kind of values that Isaac Anderson founded the college on, racial equality, especially . . . Vandy was in the spirit of Isaac Anderson, Vandy carried that flag for the last twenty years,” said Irvine. “After this political campaign season it felt very good to honor her by affirming our commitment to those values.”
Dean Kemp also served as Maryville College’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Irvine stated that the position didn’t exist before Dean Kemp took the role.
“Vandy looked at the big picture and what diversity means for us,” said Irvine.
Kemp also work with various other community groups in the area including: AAUW, League of Women Voters, Gateway to Independence, Tennessee Valley Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and NASPA.
“We love Vandy; like Vandy, we care about you all: the students,” said Irvine.