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April 29, 2020

Samantha Bassford, Residence Hall Director: “Building an inclusive community in Waldo Hall”

Samantha Bassford

Every year, Adelphi honors four exceptional employees with a President’s Award for Excellence. According to President Christine M. Riordan, these recipients “have won the admiration of their peers and colleagues by providing a truly extraordinary level of service to the University.”

Candidates are nominated by their colleagues, and these nominations are reviewed by the advisory committee for the President’s Award for Excellence. After reviewing the nominations, the committee submits final nominees to the president.

Each year, a maximum of four people (two union, two nonunion) are chosen to receive this honor. One of the President’s Awards for Excellence for 2020 was given to:

Samantha Bassford, Residence Hall Director, Waldo Hall, Office of Residential Life and Housing

Adjusting to residence hall life is challenging for most students, but especially so for those on the autism spectrum. Luckily, Adelphi students enrolled in the Bridges to Adelphi Program who live in Waldo Hall have Samantha Bassford on their side.

As residence hall director, Bassford is responsible for the overall management and daily operation of Waldo Hall—everything from supervising and training student resident assistants, to keeping track of inventory, and managing student crises. But as her nominator pointed out, Bassford has “gone above and beyond her role by putting in the time and effort to ensure Bridges students are having a positive experience and building an inclusive community in Waldo Hall.”

“As a first-generation college student, I can relate to the many challenges my students may face as they acclimate to a new and demanding experience,” Bassford said. “Every student, regardless if they have a diagnosis or not, will have some kind of difficulty transitioning into a new home away from home.”

In collaboration with Bridges to Adelphi, academic services and other departments and programs, she helps determine how to best communicate and support each student on the spectrum. “It’s also important to assure the student that what they are experiencing is normal,” she said, “that they have the resources available to help them succeed, and that the skills they will learn during difficult times will help prepare them for navigating the future.”

Bassford has also represented Adelphi University at regional conferences and shared her knowledge and expertise when she co-presented “Supporting Neurodiverse Individuals and Students With Accommodations in a Residential Life Setting” at the 2018 Northeast Association of College and University Housing Officers Annual Conference.

She said that receiving the President’s Award for Excellence “is an honor and a great reminder to pursue your passion and believe in the work that you do, because you never know the impact you can make on another person. The students I work with who are on the spectrum have shown me the different ways to process and see the world, and that continues to enrich my life and help me become a better professional.”


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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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