New leadership for residential living

After 33 years at the helm of the U’s Office of Residential Living, Dan Adams is retiring.

On July 1, Steve Nygaard became the new Director of Residential Living, filling the vacancy left by Adams’departure.

During his tenure, Adams led the residential halls through the good times and the bad.

Among countless other events, Adams oversaw residential life during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, when he served on the Planning and Operation Committees as the student dorm areas were transformed into the Olympic Village for some of the world’s best athletes.

Now the U community will turn to Nygaard in its various dealings with the residential halls, which recently earned the U the prestigious title of “School of the Year” from the Intermountain Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls.

As part of his duties, Nygaard will oversee the activities of the residential halls including, but not limited to, the facilities’ financial aspects and moving the residential area forward. He will take on such responsibilities in all segments of student housing including Gateway Heights, Chapel Glen, Sage Point, Benchmark Plaza, Shoreline Ridge and the Heritage Center.

Prior to this new position at the U, Nygaard was dean of campus life at St. Mary’s College in California. His past experiences also include four years as the director of residential living at the University of California, Berkeley and four years as the residential director at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nygaard says those positions have given him experience in leading residential programs at large research-oriented universities in terms of incorporating visions and goals.

When asked about any plans for immediate, or long-term change, Nygaard was hesitant to make any bold claims, but asserted, “We will assess our strengths and weaknesses. Occupancy is an issue and we will work on ways to increase that.”

He holds, however, that increasing occupancy of the six facilities is not the main goal. The Office of Residential Living recently raised rent to help cover for money lost on empty rooms and increases in the cost of living.

“Our major goal is how to best serve the students in enhancing their education. We’ve had a lot of feedback and growth in the past couple years and I hope to further that.”

Two retreats took place this week, each for a half-day on Monday and Tuesday.

Nygaard believes these events should be useful for him and the residential living staff in achieving their goals. In discussing these retreats, Nygaard reenforced his general plan for the program, saying, “We will assess the question of ‘What is our next step?’ and if we see changes are necessary, we will make them.”

Former director Dan Adams will assist the incoming director for a brief transitional period, an action that Nygaard hopes will yield a smoother realignment than the alternative method of approaching the process alone in a new environment.

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