Apr. 04, 2012

Shaping Lives of Purpose: Acknowledging what makes Geneseo special

Celia Easton

Celia Easton, dean of Residential Living and a member of the English Department faculty, is proud of what the college has become in the 28 years she has been a member of the Geneseo community. Among her contributions to Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo, she says, are memorial gifts to keep alive the spirits of colleagues who were mentors and cared for students. /PHOTO BY KEITH WALTERS '11

Celia Easton joined the Geneseo faculty 28 years ago as a professor in the English Department. A few years ago, she took on the role of dean of residential living, coordinating staff and all aspects of life on campus, including new initiatives such as the innovative Eco and Writers houses, where students can more deeply explore topics and creativity. As dean, Easton enjoys her role as a sort of conductor of the student experience, working with staff on many projects. She gets to lead them in coming together, she says, and make it "harmonic."

Easton is proud to have served the college with remarkable colleagues throughout the years, and to see how Geneseo has evolved into an outstanding college with academically talented students, faculty who are excited to be here, and gorgeous facilities that make students immediately feel at home.

For many years, Easton has chosen to give back to Geneseo as well the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan, where she earned her undergraduate and master's degrees, respectively. As the recipient of scholarships throughout her own education, she says she has a lot to be grateful for to the people who supported her endeavors.

"You need to give back to educational institutions," she says. "They really depend on it to grow."

Gifts to Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo is crucial, she says, because Geneseo is equally as committed to excellent education but does not have as large as endowments as other institutions. Easton and staff in Residence Life are also partnering with the Fund for Geneseo to build a stronger undergraduate giving program with resident assistants for the Make Your Mark  senior gift campaign.

Easton makes a gift to the Department of English each year, as well as gifts made in memory and honor of talented colleagues who have made a difference in the lives of students, to Geneseo and herself. Bill Edgar, Don Watt, Jerome DeRomanet, Alan Lutkus and others live on through scholarships in their names, film series, and programs that Easton helps support.

"Giving a memorial gift," she says, "keeps alive the spirits of colleagues who have been my mentors in teaching and caring for Geneseo students."