September 30, 2015

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Today, I write to you with the news that Tom Mitzel, Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, has been named the President of Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota.  The announcement was made today following a final interview with the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.

While this is a wonderful career step for Tom, I announce the news of his departure with sadness.  Tom has been a valued member of my senior administration – an important adviser to me and a committed representative of faculty members’ views and concerns. Tom served for many years as a faculty member in Trinity’s Chemistry Department before leaving to join the administration of another college.  Trinity called him back in 2013 to serve as Dean of Faculty, and he helped the faculty and the College through Trinity’s own transition to a new president.  Tom initiated divisional planning among the College’s 32 academic departments, worked with the faculty to trim and streamline budgets, bolstered faculty travel and research, and  facilitated an environment of collegiality with the initiation of weekly social hours and morning coffee for faculty and staff.  His daily walks on campus signaled his open manner and willingness to talk to any person on any subject.

Tom is a native of Aberdeen, South Dakota, and so his appointment  at Dickinson State will in many ways feel like coming home for Tom and his wife, Rhonda.  In his August 19 letter to the campus announcing his intention to not return as Dean, Tom wrote that it has been an honor for him to serve at Trinity.  As President, I will say without hesitation that it has also been an honor to work with Tom here at Trinity.  I have valued his candor, his intelligence, his wit, and his warmth.

Tom and I are in the process of determining his final date at Trinity, and I will write to you once this is set.  Additionally, I have been working with Faculty Conference to develop a search committee to identify a new Dean of  the Faculty, and I will keep you abreast of their work in identifying the right person to serve in this very important position.

I know I speak for all of us here in expressing to Tom our congratulations on his new presidential appointment.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor
of Neuroscience