Cissy Petty to retire after four years of student service

Media Credit: File Photo by Donna Armstrong

Dean Cissy Petty has served as the vice president of student affairs, the dean of students and the executive director of the colonial health center since joining the University in 2018.

Cissy Petty will retire June 30 after four years of service as a University administrator, according to a release Tuesday.

Petty has served as the vice president of student affairs, the dean of students and the executive director of the Colonial Health Center since joining the University in 2018. She said in the release that she hopes the University will continue to “show up” for students after she retires from GW and moves to Louisiana to join her wife, who she married in December.

“There is never a dull moment in a crowd of students, which is what gives our campus a sense of vibrancy,” Petty said in the release.

Transition plans will be announced before Petty departs GW, according to the release.

Petty moved into District House last fall to attend more student events and foster relationships with students to better understand their needs. She said while living in District House, she hosted North Village Neighborhood meetings with residents from Lafayette, Munson and JBKO halls and District House to rebuild a sense of community undergraduates lost with the removal of the resident advisor program this academic year.

Petty said she gave out her phone number to families to serve as a resource in the case of an emergency which helped foster relationships and build connections with new-student families during students’ move-in.

“I have a sense that our student leaders have come to trust that they will get straight answers from me, and they know that even when we disagree, I care deeply about each and every one of them,” Petty said.

Petty was initially hired as the dean of the student experience and was promoted to vice president of student affairs and dean of students after one year at GW. She said she encouraged students to leave their dorms to bond with each other throughout her first year at GW.

“It’s our job to push boundaries and not stay tied to any one way of doing something,” Petty said in the release.

Petty served as the executive director of the CHC after her hire in 2018 and became the permanent leader of the center last fall after speaking with students and families about their demands for the center. Petty extended CHC service hours on the weekends and established a clinic on the Mount Vernon Campus.

“Our focus on the student experience and being with and for students has been embedded in the culture of the Division for Student Affairs,” Petty said.

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