Former dean of students dies at 70

By Tim Michaels

Katie Appleby Nash, a former dean of students for the College who began working at the University in 1960, died December 16 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2002, at the Methodist Home nursing facility in Chicago. She was 70 years old.

Nash’s first appointment at the University was as an undergraduate adviser in 1960. She became dean of students for the College in 1991 and held that position until 2001.

“She professionalized the work of the Dean of Students Office by improving the quality of the programming offered and hiring advisors who truly believed in the College and its mission, and viewed the advising students as a profession, not just a temporary job,” said Ann Harvilla, dean of students in the Graduate School of Business, who worked with Nash for over a decade.

While serving as a dean, Nash counseled students in the College and strove to establish pre-professional advising teams such as the Health Professions Advisors and the Pre-Law Advisor. She was also instrumental in establishing the College Programming Office, which seeks to foster class community and institutional affinity to the College by organizing programs and initiatives that provide significant markers of students’ time at the U of C.

“Katie Nash taught me to look for the talents and strengths of each individual student,” said Susan Art, dean of students in the College, who served as assistant dean and associate dean under Nash. “The work of the dean of students is many one-on-one student transactions, and Katie modeled how to be readily available and responsive to student concerns. She had an enormous enjoyment of our College students.”

Nash is remembered for her close relationships with students. “Dean Nash was completely committed to students,” Harvilla said. “She was fair when making decisions, and even when she had to deliver tough news to a student, I think they appreciated that it was a fair one.”

A Hyde Park resident for over 43 years, Nash attended high school in Lake Forest, Illinois, and graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa in 1957. Her hobbies included crossword puzzles, mystery novels, and part-time volunteering at the Field Museum.

Nash is survived by former husband Edward George Nash and two sons, Peter and Stephen.