August 2, 2019

Della Hudson, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Says Farewell to Adelphi University after 28 years

by Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey, MFA '20 (anticipated)

Della Hudson has been a mainstay at Adelphi for the past 28 years. The associate dean of student affairs has been a friend and confidante to hundreds of students and has contributed her time and efforts to many initiatives, including the First-Year Community Action Program, alternative spring break, the Diversity Committee, and the Panther Pantry.

Surprisingly, although Hudson clearly has a passion for working with college students, her original passion was criminal justice, which she studied in college. But after working for the New York department of corrections, she found “that’s not what I wanted to do.” Nor was her next move, working in the corporate world. Then, when she got a job at St. Bonaventure University in 1980, “I said, ‘God, I don’t care what position I have; I know that higher education is where I want to be.'”

She worked with students in various capacities at four universities before coming to Adelphi. Here, she served as director of counseling for the General Studies Learning Community and rose through the ranks in the Division of Student Affairs to her current role as associate dean.

“I’ve been able to marry my passion for community service and social justice with the work I do here,” she said. “My greatest joy is interacting with students and trying to help them maneuver the course so they can be successful.”

Hudson has seen a lot of changes through the years, the most significant being technology, which, she said, “affects the culture of the University.”

At Adelphi, “We’ve grown tremendously since I’ve been here,” she said. “I think in terms of student affairs, we’re trying to meet the needs of the students, assess what we’re doing to make sure that we’re staying abreast of providing students with the tools necessary for them to be positive contributors to society.”

Hudson has been on the University’s Diversity Committee since 1993 (formerly known as the Monitoring Committee), and stressed the importance of having such a group.

“It is not just for students of color,” she said, explaining that the purpose of the Diversity Committee “is to help all students understand difference, accept difference. Also, at a predominantly white institution, it’s necessary for students of color to understand that this is a place for them too.”

Working at Adelphi for nearly three decades, Hudson said her favorite moments are “…having the opportunity to observe students’ transformation into adults and independent thinkers. To help students reach their full potential, I have been able to collaborate with faculty, other units and the community. Behind the scenes, it was important to be a voice regarding policies, learning outcomes and assessment that have contributed to a student-centered environment.”

On August 16, Hudson is retiring from her active engagement in student affairs. Her latest project, the Panther Pantry, will be overseen by Division of Student Affairs staff members Carol Lucas, MSW ’02, PhD ’13, interim associate dean, and Kathleen Watchorn, coordinator of programs and projects.

Although Hudson is leaving Adelphi, she will continue to be involved in making a difference in the lives of others.

She is looking forward to taking time off, traveling with her sister and spending more time with her grandchildren. But that won’t be all.

“I can’t see myself just sitting still, and I think it is going to be a wonderful time for me to go back to following my passion for social justice and community service,” Hudson said. “I would like to assist in helping to give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves, like the homeless and other disenfranchised individuals.”


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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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