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College mentor leaves after 27 years
She worked with five different Lafayette College presidents, but the first woman president in the college’s history will be her last, as Director of Student Leadership Pamela Brewer retires after nearly three decades on campus.
At a reception held for Brewer Feb. 7, students and faculty alike gathered to show their thanks for a woman whom they said has meant so much to so many since she arrived at Lafayette in 1988. The reception was held following the 20th annual Lafayette Leadership Institute, an event organized by Brewer.
The reception featured performances from Soulfege, in addition to many speeches from those who know Pam best, including President Alison Byerly and Connected Communities Fellow Lauren Berry.
In her speech Berry echoed the sentiments of many other students in referring to Brewer as a “second mother.” Speaking of Brewer’s true love and unflagging support of the students she mentored, Berry went on to recount the story of one orientation where Brewer was too sick to show up in person to watch her Orientation Leaders meet the new First Years. She instead drove her car onto Quad Drive and watched from her car in a “self-imposed quarantine.”
“I can’t even begin to imagine my time at Lafayette without Pam,” Ricky Lanzilotti ‘16 said. “The lessons I’ve learned through the experiences I’ve shared with her are truly incredible and I will remember all those moments with her for the rest of my life.”
Brewer got her start at Lafayette by chance, after running into former vice president and now assistant to the president Jim Krivoski at a conference in North Carolina. Brewer had worked with Krivoski in a residence life position at James Madison University. Krivoski said he knew Brewer would be perfect for the position of Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities.
At the time, Brewer was director of Residence Life at Albright College in Reading, Pa. Brewer was hesitant to apply for the job having only worked in residence life. With Krivoski’s encouragement, she applied and interviewed for the position in the summer of 1988. The rest, she said, is history.
Director of Student Involvement Kristin Cothran, who will be taking over the job of leading orientation for the class of 2019, said she can only hope to leave a positive legacy on Lafayette just as Pam has.
“[Lafayette has] grown and changed because of her,” Cothran said. “I aspire, one day, to be like her.”
In her retirement Brewer said she plans to spend the majority of her time caring for her father, an ex-reconnaissance pilot in World War Two, who at age 94 has medical needs requiring her attention.
She also looks forward to spending family time with her two children, their spouses, and her nine month-old grandson. Additionally, Brewer said she hopes to continue singing in her church choir, find more time to read and to travel the world.
Brewer may be leaving, but her strong relationships with students and faculty will keep her connected to the community.
“I’ve been privileged to be involved with so many great programs over the years, traditions and amazing events like the 150th game and the 250th birthday of Lafayette,” Brewer said. “When it comes down to it, all these events are amazing but the relationships that I’ve been able to make and retain with students and alumni and faculty, those don’t end for me, those continue.”