Letter to the Editor: Pereira leaves a lasting impact

Matthew Justin Patashnick is the director of Parent and Family Programs at Columbia University. He graduated from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences in 2002.

I’m writing in response to the article, “Administrator on the front lines of student crises to leave GW,” (Nov. 18, p. 1).

In the divisive climate in which we live, one of the most hotly contested topics is the role of higher education. Are colleges and universities solely designed to propel students into the working world and assist them in securing jobs, or is there more to it?

Do these institutions have a responsibility to help develop citizen-scholars who think critically, acknowledge mistakes, build self-resilience, solve problems and try to leave their campus, communities and world in a better place?

During my time as a GW student, Deputy Title IX Director Tara Pereira answered that question for me. The knowledge I received in the classrooms at GW was rewarding and enriching, but the lifelong education I experienced from my interactions and time with Tara is invaluable. She helped me to define a sense of self that I will always carry with me.

As a college administrator today, I often think about Tara. I hope that colleagues at GW and at all institutions take the time to reflect about their role in educating students. Tara did it right and I am forever grateful.

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