Former dean of students, Pamela Anthony, remembered by various campus impacts

Dean of Students Pamela Anthony, poses for a picture in her office at the Student Services building Feb. 13, 2013.

David Perrin

After the death of a friend, a colleague and a former dean of students, the Iowa State community continues to rejoice in Pamela Anthony’s achievements.

Anthony, who served as Iowa State’s dean of students from August 2012 to January 2016, died in Dallas, Texas, on Jan. 17 after a short battle with lymphoma.

After the news of her death, individuals and organizations all over the nation celebrated her life and the impacts she had on not only the people she met, but also the people she didn’t meet but still influenced.

Those who knew her described her as a vibrant, caring individual who would do whatever she could to help, no matter the impact on her own life. She worked to better the world, not herself.

“A lot of things that Pam had her hand in — much of which we may never know. She wasn’t the type of leader where it was important for her to put her name on it,” Tera Jordan, assistant professor of human development and family studies, said. “She found comfort in just doing the work.”

There are, however, significant achievements that Anthony made on campus that can be indirectly measured by importance.

One of the many opportunities that Anthony was able to bring to the university was to reorganize the dean of students office. This reorganization included grouping certain departments into “themes” to allow them to be as productive as they could possibly be.

“There was a ‘social justice and inclusion’ grouping, which was multicultural student affairs, LGBTQ student services and women’s center,” Martino Harmon, senior vice president for student affairs, said.

Some of the other groupings were “academic support programs,” which held departments such as the academic success center, the writing [and media] center and other similar programs, as well as included student conduct and student assistance departments.

“Creating a focus on social justice and inclusion was a key component for how the dean of students office work is done,’ Keith Robinder, interim dean of students, said.

Not only did Anthony reorganize the programs mentioned, but she also helped the organizations and departments — during her short time at the university — expanded and become what they are today by strengthening relationships among faculty and students.

Thomas Hill, former vice president for student affairs who helped recruit Anthony, had some words to say about her performance while at Iowa State.

“She established good working relationships with her colleagues within the division [of student affairs], but also with other offices around campus,” Hill said.

As a more specific example, she promoted the expansion of the multicultural student affairs office to be more than just a scholarship program.

“From there, her whole mission was to make sure that they worked together and that they had programming that was reflective of what she wanted to see out of the dean of students office,” Harmon said.

And what Anthony wanted to see overall was student success. She, in essence, “set the vision” for the future of the dean of students office, Harmon said.

“She was really good at the details, and for her, the details mattered,” Robinder said. “They communicated our care and our commitment to doing this work well.”

The work Anthony did, Jordan said, was put before anything else in her life. Though she enjoyed her own time, she would go out of her way to work with colleagues and students to better the university and the lives of others.

“It was a really comprehensive effort on her part to raise the programs and services in the dean of students office to another level,” Hill said.

Along with her many reorganizational efforts, Anthony strived to promote diversity and inclusion across campus, Robinder said. Part of the work she did reorganizing the dean of students office changed multicultural programs in ways that needed to be done, and she did so in ways that were easy for students and for staff.

“Always as the center was Pamela’s care for students and her belief that everyone matters,” Robinder said.

As a way of demonstrating the impact that Anthony had on the university, a meeting will take place Feb. 10 to plan an event celebrating the legacy of her life on the Iowa State campus. A memorial service will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the McFarlin Auditorium at Southern Methodist University, the university she left Iowa State to work at.