After four years at Boston College, Patrick Rombalski, vice president for student affairs, has announced that he will be leaving his post over the coming two weeks.
“I am writing to announce that after four rewarding years at Boston College, I have decided to leave my position as Vice President for Student Affairs to pursue broader interests in the field of higher education,” Rombalski wrote in a letter to colleagues. “In the near term, I will be attending to personal issues. I will also be consulting as well as continuing my involvement in volunteer programs.”
Rombalski came to BC in early 2008, after serving as vice president for student affairs at John Carroll University outside Cleveland, Ohio. Rombalski also served as dean of students at John Carroll, director of residential life at the University of Scranton, and associate director of residential life at Fairfield University, which are all Jesuit institutions.
During his first months at BC, Rombalski established a strategic plan for the division of student affairs, creating an overall vision under which the division could improve.
“I came into a division of student affairs that the staff said was in great need of a vision and a strategy to move forward,” Rombalski said. “The division wanted to be held in higher regard than it was at the time.”
After establishing the strategic plan, Rombalski and the division of student affairs went straight to work. During his time at BC, Rombalski focused greatly on issues of concern to students, working to establish the Office of Health Promotion and the Center for Leadership and Development, as well as to remove red tape around registering student organizations and make changes to policy for the benefit of students.
“All of the things we set out to do in my first year have been accomplished,” Rombalski said. “Programmatically, this is a pretty good time to go. It’s not that I like to leave, but I like to look for the right time to leave.”
While serving as vice president of student affairs, Rombalski had weekly Tuesday dinners with various student groups, and took great interest in getting various perspectives on different issues.
“This is the type of division that always has to have its hand on the pulse of the student body,” Rombalski said. “This division more than any other has to be open and flexible, and it has to align with student needs. We always need people who will roll up their sleeves and get out with students all the time.”
Rombalski came to the decision to leave after several weeks of conversations with various colleagues. He has said that his decision is based on personal issues, and that his experience at BC has been overwhelmingly positive.
“How much more can I give to the institution?” Rombalski said. “There has to be a good marriage between the two.”
Over the next six to eight weeks, Rombalski will attend to personal issues. At the start of the new year, he will begin moving into different areas of higher education.
“I’ve always had a broader view of higher education,” Rombalski said. “I have several different options now, consulting and some more traditional positions. Something I’ve always been interested in is access to higher education. Can everyone go to college?”
Rombalski will continue to serve as executive director of Rostro de Cristo, a position he has held since 2001. Rostro de Cristo is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor of Ecuador.
The search for a successor will begin this month. In the meantime, Executive Vice President Pat Keating will oversee the Division of Student Affairs.
“I would like to thank Fr. Leahy and Pat Keating for giving me the opportunity to serve our students, and I am particularly grateful to the staff in the division of student affairs for their extraordinary contributions and for the progress we have achieved during this time,” Rombalski said.
“I have deep admiration for our students,” Rombalski said. “I’ve always described BC as an electric student body. It’s been a great honor to serve them and I’m sure they will be well served going forward.”