Hofstra appoints Uniondale native as new dean of students
Gabrielle St. Leger has been appointed Hofstra’s new dean of students and assistant vice president for Student Affairs, effective Monday, Jan. 14.
Prior to taking on this new role, St. Leger served as dean of students at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in Old Westbury, New York. Aside from her most recent position, St. Leger brings 17 years of experience in student affairs to Hofstra from NYIT, West Virginia University and Ohio State University.
A graduate of Uniondale High School, St. Leger has been familiar with the Hofstra community for many years. “I have watched Hofstra blossom right before my eyes,” St. Leger said.
Following her high school graduation, St. Leger earned a bachelor’s degree in English from West Virginia University. St. Leger continued her education there, later earning a master’s degree in secondary education/language arts and a doctorate in educational leadership studies and higher education administration.
“We are thrilled to welcome Gaby St. Leger to Hofstra. She is an experienced dean of students who will support and advocate for our students,” said W. Houston Dougharty, vice president for Student Affairs.
“As a native of Hempstead, Gaby will enrich our connections to our community as well.”
While St. Leger officially begins her career at Hofstra in January, she is currently preparing for the role and outlining important goals. “I want to start off with some listening sessions,” St. Leger said. “You get more from listening than speaking.”
Another important short-term goal for St. Leger is addressing what the University does to accommodate veterans. “I want to dig a little deeper and understand what we are doing for this population,” she said.
St. Leger is excited to join the experienced team in Student Affairs, including Dougharty and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jean Peden Christodoulou.
St. Leger is eager to hear what students have to say and to work on addressing issues on campus. She expressed the importance of understanding student needs early on in her time at Hofstra.
“I’m really excited for when the new dean of students joins us so we can start the semester off with advances in advocating for all the changes students have been demanding,” said Zain Farooqui, a junior biomedical engineering major.
When leading a team, St. Leger stressed that it is important to also understand what the team members need in order to accomplish goals.
When tackling the issue of diversity on campus, St. Leger emphasized the significance this issue has on her agenda. “[Diversity] is important to me foundationally,” she said. “I am hoping there’s some data, both qualitative and quantitative.”
“A few things I hope we can start working on really soon are some mental health and counseling initiatives and addressing and hopefully implementing the policies the Jefferson Has Gotta Go! (JGG) campaign has been advocating for,” Farooqui said.
St. Leger is looking forward to partnering with the chief diversity and inclusion officer, which is a new position on campus and has not yet been appointed.
“There has got to be a game plan [to] make sure everybody has a place,” St. Leger said.
St. Leger’s hiring follows an extensive national search after the resignation of Sofia Pertuz, the former dean of students and associate vice president for Student Affairs.
Pertuz recently began the next chapter of her career as senior advisor at the Jed Foundation (JED), which is a non-profit organization that aims to protect emotional health and prevent suicide in teens and young adults.
St. Leger recognizes and admires the many milestones that Hofstra has accomplished and is looking forward to watching the University grow even more in the next few years. “I feel honored,” St. Leger said. “Hofstra is doing great things.”