Kate McCrae Bristol named new Dean of Students for Laurier’s Waterloo campus

On Aug. 26, Kate McCrae Bristol was announced as the new dean of students for Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo Campus.

McCrae Bristol will effectively assume her role as of Sep. 16, 2019, but will be welcoming the incoming first year students prior to this date during the opening ceremonies of Orientation Week.

McCrae Bristol is the first person to inherit the dean of students position since the tragic passing of Leanne Holland Brown, a loss which was felt across the Laurier community and beyond.

“Something that’s really important to me on this journey is being able to carry on Leanne Holland Brown’s legacy,” said McCrae Bristol, “She was such a pivotal pillar in the Laurier community and a friend of mine.”

Holland Brown held the dean of students position for nearly a decade, and helped thousands of students during her time at Laurier, advocating for their success and helping them work towards achieving their goals. She was truly an embodiment of empathy and compassion.

McCrae Bristol hopes to honor Leanne Holland Brown’s memory by continuing the work which she was so passionate about.

“I’m really honoured to be able to follow in her footsteps,” said McCrae Bristol.

The dean of students is responsible for overseeing the student experience at Laurier, including the safety, success and support of all students. The role also includes working with established student-oriented services such as the Student Wellness Centre, Indigenous services and diversity and equity initiatives on campus.

“It’s a very unique position – not all schools have this role,” said McCrae Bristol. “The mandate is creating a safe and inclusive environment for all students, taking student wellness and well-being into consideration at all levels of the institution…making the student voice heard.”

The dean of students will not only be working on a large scale, but will also be focusing on interacting one-on-one with students to provide personal support and address each individual’s unique needs.

“I hope students will take advantage of the dean of students’ office if they’re curious or exploring other growth and development opportunities,” she said.

McCrae Bristol will be transitioning into the dean of students position at Laurier from her previous role as themanager of student experience at Laurier’s neighbouring school, the University of Waterloo – a role which helped prepare her for her future at Laurier.

“My role at [University of] Waterloo has a large emphasis on supporting our incoming students in their transition to university and supporting a number of student leadership initiatives.”

McCrae Bristol is excited to be joining the Laurier community and is looking forward to making connections between academics and student experience on campus.

“My vision in the early days is to carry on a legacy of great student leadership and volunteerism opportunities,” said McCrae Bristol. “I hope that I can actively contribute to the already really great community that exists at Laurier.”

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