May 12, 2006

Klass to leave U of C for position at Williams

Steve Klass, vice president and dean of Students in the University, is leaving after 11 years at the U of C to become the vice president for operations at Williams College.

Klass, who began work at the University in 1995 as director of auxiliary services, has been involved in a number of projects. His tenure saw the creation of flex dollars, the reorganization of the transportation services, and the building of Max Palevsky Residential Commons, Bartlett Commons, and Ratner Athletic Center.

“Steve has been a pleasure to work with. He has consistently shown good judgment, sensitivity, and good humor through some big projects,” said Richard Saller, provost of the University.

Klass said he was not seeking a new job when he was contacted by a search consultant.

“Once I learned more about the position, I decided to become a candidate because the portfolio represented exactly what I wanted to do next in my career in higher education,” Klass said. “I just had been thinking that ‘next’ meant four or five years from now.”

As vice president for Operations at Williams, Klass’s duties will include facility operations, dining, safety and environmental compliance, human resources, economic development in the Berkshires, and real estate.

The office of the president at Williams said, “[Klass] brings to Williams deep experience in the building and running of facilities and in supporting and nurturing staff, along with a sharp focus on how these operations contribute to the education of students.”

In his new position, Klass hopes to build strong relationships with the faculty and student body while acting as a spokesperson for the college staff.

Klass’s reasons for leaving are also personal. Originally from Rochester, New York, he wants to move “several hours closer to my family and friends,” he said.

Many colleagues are sorry to see Klass leave after his three-and-a-half year tenure as dean of students.

“I have always enjoyed watching Steve interact with our students—whether playing with his band on the quads during Summer Breeze or talking with students during lunch in Bartlett—he has always taken time to get to know and support our students,” said Bill Michel, assistant vice president for student life.

Klass reflected on his time at the U of C: “Without question, the hardest thing for me is leaving the amazing colleagues on whom I have relied for friendship, wisdom, counsel, guidance, support and humor all these years,” Klass said.

“I have been offered an incredible set of opportunities and challenges, I have regular opportunities to engage in vigorous intellectual debate on every topic imaginable, and I get to work closely with the most interesting, well rounded students on any campus anywhere,” he said.