March 25, 2019

Dear Members of the Trinity College Community,

It is with great joy for Melanie Stein, dean of academic affairs and professor of mathematics, that I share the news that she has been named dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College. She will begin her new role on July 1.

Melanie has been a valued member of the Trinity community for 24 years, the last several as an academic dean. It is impossible to quantify her impact on Trinity, but it is unquestionably profound and positive. She has made our community stronger and leaves a legacy of leadership through collaboration, respect, fairness, and integrity.

In the dean’s office, Melanie is a trusted colleague, friend, and administrator who values consultative decision-making and understands the importance of hearing all voices. Her work in the areas of faculty recruitment, retention, development, and success; academic strategy and planning; and student success has modeled effective academic leadership and advanced the college significantly toward its strategic goals. She has built strong partnerships in every part of the college and taken on new challenges and opportunities with her characteristic determination and quiet (but considerable) strength.

In her field of mathematics, she is a geometric group theorist, studying groups through their actions on topological metric spaces. She has published articles on a variety of mathematical topics and is especially well-known for her work in two areas. She is considered one of the leading experts in the study of Thompson’s groups (the Thompson-Stein groups introduced in her thesis are well explored in the mathematical literature). Her work generalizing Morgan-Shalen theory to essential laminations has led to groundbreaking results on the (non)existence of foliations in 3-manifolds.

A member of the faculty since 1995, Melanie is a former chair of the Mathematics Department. Before assuming her current role, she served in 2015–16 as interim dean of the faculty and had spent the three years prior as an associate academic dean.

The role she takes on at Ithaca will bring to bear Melanie’s considerable talents, skills, and experience in supporting and advancing the college’s largest school, with 23 academic departments, 52 undergraduate programs, and two graduate programs spanning the humanities; natural, quantitative, and social sciences; education; technology; and performing and creative arts. It also takes Melanie back to the town in which she was raised, so it is both an exciting professional opportunity and a serendipitous homecoming.

Congratulations, Melanie, and thank you for your dedication and service to Trinity!


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience