The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Meet Ellen Leslie, President Hurd’s right-hand woman

Ellen Leslie has called college president Nicole Hurd “a breath of fresh air.” (Photo courtesy of Ellen Leslie)

Ellen Leslie, who will celebrate 34 years at Lafayette in October, has experienced the college through many lenses and has only found more joy in her role as college President Nicole Hurd’s assistant. 

“There’s a lot of world out there,” Leslie said. “You have to look at things with your eyes open.”

Leslie has tried many paths in her professional life, from stints in alumni affairs, the geology department, the finance office and now her current job in Hurd’s office which she started in March of last year. She has also taken on many endeavors in her personal life.

Leslie started riding horses at 58 and hopes to continue nurturing that passion. She got to visit Lafayette’s equestrian team this past weekend and wishes to continue observing its successes as the year goes on.

“[My] goal this semester is to actually get to as many of their competition events as I can,” she said.  

Leslie greatly admires that students of all different backgrounds are able to try their hand at riding and loves how it speaks to the nature of the Lafayette community at large.

“What I love about Lafayette is that everyone can thrive because you can find that little niche that you might have and you can thrive in that place,” she said. “I think that the faculty and the staff and everyone … here allows for that and they’re willing to help students be the best person that they can become.”

With regard to President Hurd, Leslie admits that after the seven presidents she has witnessed take the helm on College Hill, she considers Hurd “an absolute breath of fresh air.”

“She is just a wonderful person. She treats everybody the same,” Leslie said. 

According to Hurd, Leslie is a true asset to her office.

“Ellen is a gift,” Hurd said. “I can’t say enough about her. She’s an amazing, amazing person. I’m very excited to work with her each and every day.”

Leslie describes her day-to-day life as a lot of scheduling, travel arrangements and speaking to people on the phone. According to her, working in an office with exclusively women has made the job an interesting experience. 

“[I have never] worked in an office of all women, and this is an office of all women, and we don’t kill each other,” Leslie said.

Leslie described Hurd as being a role model for women on campus based on the women-centered environment that she has created.

“You see other women who empower other women to be really unique, and because as I look from where women were back when I first got married when I was in high school, it’s such a totally different era now,” Leslie said.

Leslie is particularly invested in the college as two of her three sons graduated from Lafayette with geology degrees. She has felt supported by the college and has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to support Hurd. 

“Ellen is absolutely committed to showing up and caring for people the way that I want our office to show up and care for people,” Hurd said.

Correction 09/16/2023: The quote in the photo caption that was attributed to President Hurd in a previous version of this article was said by Ellen Leslie regarding Hurd. 

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McKenna Graf
McKenna Graf, Staff Culture Writer

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