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Saying Goodbye to Beloved Director

by Christina Urban

Professor John Delate (right), his wife Caroline (left) and their two children Katharine and Elias.
Photo courtesy of Mike Peters.

For the last four years, Executive Director of Residence Life John Delate has had a huge impact on Montclair State University’s community. This makes his soon-to-be departure, which is set for some time in January, that much more upsetting.

“It’s almost like I feel like a student,” Delate said. “[As if] I came as a freshman and now I’m graduating maybe a semester later.”

From co-teaching with legendary motivational speaker Dr. Robert Gilbert to becoming developer and facilitator of Montclair State’s Person Empowerment Leadership Series, Delate has dedicated a lot of his time to the campus.

“In [these] four years, I just came to love the community here,” Delate said. “What I’ll miss the most is the people. The students have always been so kind and gracious to me, and they have been wonderful employees in the department.”

However, his biggest and most notorious role is executive director of Residence Life. After four years of working with the department and the rest of the campus community, Delate will be leaving.

“It’s really sad to see him go,” said Kate Braunstein, WMSC news director and junior communication and media arts major. “He’s helped so many students on this campus feel at home, and he always stood up for any injustice he saw.”

According to Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Dr. Karen Pennington, four years is the average length of stay for someone with that occupation.

“As administrators, we all leave,” Pennington said. “With faculty, the job isn’t to come and stay forever. The job is to come, stay for a few years and then to move on to a higher-level position.”

Prior to becoming employed at Montclair State in August 2013, Delate spent 12 years working for Purchase College. While working for Purchase, he held a number of leadership roles, such as chapter president, director of the Professional Enrichment Program, associate dean of Student Affairs, to Purchase’s director of Residence and Student Life.

Before landing a position here, journalism professor Tara George knew Delate. They both worked together at Purchase College.

“John at Purchase was the same as he is here at Montclair State: an all-around nice guy who goes out of his way to help students and faculty alike,” George said. “Legions of my journalism students both at Purchase and here have pestered him for interviews and he is always accommodating. I’m really happy for him, but I’m so sad he’s leaving us.”

It was the opportunity to work at a bigger school that was knocking on his door. This motivated Delate to move with his family to New Jersey and work for the Red Hawk community.

“I always looked forward [to] an opportunity to work at a large university,” Delate said. “I have worked at a small institution college for a number of years and I wanted to get a greater experience with a larger university. I’ve known about [Montclair State] since I was a kid. When the opportunity arose, I applied and was hired here.”

The executive director grew up in Delaware and always had great regard for Montclair State.

“There are multiple opportunities at the university level that aren’t always afforded at a smaller college,” Delate said.

Delate’s next role will be back in the SUNY College system at Monroe Community College in New York. His new position will be the associate vice president of Student Services where he will be doing the things he enjoys, such as connecting departments together, creating greater collaborations and providing seamless services to students.

“It’s a larger position and larger role,” Delate said. “I move beyond residence life and will be working with a number of different units in the student affairs area.”

His wife and their two kids, Katharine and Elias, will be moving back to New York with him.

“We have cherished our time at Montclair,” said Delate’s wife Caroline. “Katharine and Elias have attended excellent schools, John has loved his job at Residence Life, and I have made many friends here. We are grateful to [Montclair State] for this wonderful opportunity, and now we are excited about our new adventure.”

While a replacement has not been made yet for the executive director, the university will continue to look for one in the upcoming weeks.

“We will do our best to hire someone who will serve our students in just as good of a way as he did,” Pennington said.


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