After 13 years of experience within the Office of Residential Life & Explorations, Leon Hayner, associate dean and senior director of Residential Life & Explorations, will become assistant vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students.
Hayner will take the place of Meghan Harte Weyant.
He has been a fixture of the Rollins community since he joined the office in 2007 while working towards a master’s degree in the Crummer Graduate School of Business.
“My primary responsibility includes overseeing the Residential Life & Explorations office, and that means all things related to living on campus,” said Hayner.
His work is instrumental to campus life, because he organizes first-year and transfer student orientations, takes care of residence halls, and trains resident assistants (RAs) and peer mentors.
“I’m going to miss working with the RAs and the peer mentors the most. They are the highlight of my job,” said Hayner.
The job opportunity arose after Weyant accepted the vice president position for student life at Rhodes College. Weyant will officially leave her position June 1, after working at the college for 13 years.
Hayner will temporarily assume Weyant’s position from June 1, 2020 to June 1, 2021. Meanwhile, Rollins will decide if an internal search or national search for another candidate is necessary based on Hayner’s performance.
“It was a heartbreaking decision to make to leave Rollins,” said Weyant. “I can say without a doubt one of the things that I am most proud of is the team that is here in the care collective and doing work within Student Affairs … They are going to be amazing and they are going to do amazing work. They’re an amazing team with or without me.”
In his new position, Hayner will be heavily involved in the opening of the new Lakeside Residential Complex as well as the Rollins Gateway program, which prepares students for their careers by combining an interdisciplinary curriculum with embedded mentors.
“All of it is going to be a new learning experience, and I’m going into the role thinking about it as how can I best help and serve students, and how can I best help serve the staff that I’m going to be supervising,” said Hayner.
Due to the interim nature of the position, Hayner does not expect to make any big changes to the precedent Weyant set for the role.
“I haven’t been asked to come and sort of change everything up. I think the college, our division of student affairs, and the care alignment, specifically that the dean of students overseas, is really heading in the right direction. I think students feel supported and I think students feel cared about, so my job is to keep the momentum moving in the right direction,” said Hayner.
Taking the place of Hayner will be Penelope Strater, the current director of Student & Family Care, who has worked at Rollins for the past seven years.
Strater will simultaneously maintain her position as director.
“In a lot of ways, we’re interchangeable,” said Weyant in respect to Hayner and herself. “The only advice I would give to him and have already given to him is he should believe in how amazing he is and also just not forget to take care of himself.”