Feb. 1, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 9

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    Dean Turkington will retire after 38 years of service to University students

    Edward Turkington, Deputy Dean of Students in the University and Dean of Student Services, will retire from his position at the end of this academic year.

    During his 38-year career with the University, Turkington has overseen nearly every aspect of student services–those areas that address University life outside the classroom, including housing, physical education and athletics, career and placement services, student activities, student health services and community service. In addition, as head of housing, Turkington, along with his wife Edith and their two children, lived in Burton-Judson Courts from 1966 to 1999.

    “Ed is the architect of the housing system at this university. The communities that exist today are the result of his vision and his implementation over the years,” said Arthur Sussman, General Counsel and Vice President for Administration. “And over the last seven years, Ed has led the expansion of the components of student life from housing into other areas–and always with an incredible understanding of the role student life plays here, as part of the unique mission of Chicago.”

    Turkington also has long played an integral role in the facilities that make a rich student life possible, in addition to making the residential operations self-supporting for more than 20 years, Sussman said. In recent years, Turkington oversaw the renovation of the Reynolds Club and has been intimately involved in the planning of both the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and the Max Palevsky Residential Commons.

    “I discovered early on that I truly enjoyed this line of work, and I was fortunate to be here at a time when the University decided to fortify the housing system and make a dramatic enhancement in programming,” said Turkington.

    He arrived at the University in 1958 as a graduate student in history. He was called away for three years to serve in a U.S. Army branch of military intelligence that monitored Russian activities in East Germany. When he returned to Chicago in 1963, he became an assistant resident head in Hitchcock Hall and shifted from an academic to a student services career as he took on increasing responsibilities for the housing system.

    Those responsibilities led to his position as Director of Student Housing in 1966, eventually followed by Associate Dean of Students in 1978 and ultimately his current position in 1993.

    “Whenever I am faced with a particularly difficult student problem, I think ‘What would Ed do?’” said Marlene Richman, Interim Director of Career & Placement Services and Resident Master at Burton-Judson Courts from 1982 to 1992. “Ed’s approach is always positive, and he strives to help students think for themselves. He is a wise and able counselor.”

    Turkington believes the role of student services is to support and sustain the mission of the University by helping students be successful. And that is a challenge he renews and savors with each passing year of the academic calendar.

    “I love the vitality of this place and of its students,” said Turkington. “One of the great things about University life is that I can reflect on the past year in June–what went right, what went wrong. And then for me, September is rather like spring. I can feel the excitement and anticipation on campus as a new year is about to begin–a new year that forever brings new people to campus, new events and new issues. And I love that.”

    President Don Randel and Provost Geoffrey Stone have appointed a committee, chaired by Dennis Hutchinson, a William Rainey Harper Professor in the College, to begin the search for a new Vice President and Dean of Students in the University.

    “This will be a national search that will seek to identify the very best person in the nation to oversee student life and student service issues in the University,” Stone said.