Blumenthal retires after thirty-nine years

By on April 15, 2004

Thirty-nine years is a long time. Thirty-nine years is double the years that many freshmen on this campus have enjoyed existence. Thirty-nine years ago, no man had ever walked on the moon. Thirty-nine years ago, a Democrat by the name of Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States and leading an offensive into the jungles of Vietnam.

Much has changed in the world in those 39 years while much has remained the same while much has changed.

Quinnipiac College is now Quinnipiac University and the college that once consisted of five buildings with a total student population of approximately 1700 students, with an included resident population of 25 men and 25 women.

Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Donald Blumenthal, began, what would become his 39-year-long tenure, at Quinnipiac College in the fall of 1965 in a different world, on both the local and international realm.

One year after his hiring, Quinnipiac College moved three miles north from Whitney Avenue to its present location on Mount Carmel Avenue. From the point of his hiring, Quinnipiac has been a major aspect of his life. All four of his children graduated Quinnipiac.

Blumenthal’s initial position on campus was a councilor. He was responsible for all 50 students living on campus. Blumenthal said, “I love my job. I love working with the students.”

He has worked under six of Quinnipiac’s eight Presidents; the two he did not were that of Judge Troup and Samuel W. Tator. He started under the administration of President Nils G. Sahlin and believes that President John Lahey has led the campus the most effectively and saw the best results. However, President Sahlin did make remarkable progress, under his watch, Quinnipiac College purchased 100 acres of the campus which many of the current buildings rest.

In 1967, Blumenthal became the Director of Housing. Approximately 20 years ago, he became Associate Dean of Student Affairs and approximately eight years ago, he was promoted to his current position of Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

The best part of Blumenthal’s job is “seeing the growth and development of the students who graduated come back at reunions and alumni receptions,” Blumenthal said.

The worst part of the senior associate dean’s job is telling Quinnipiac students that they are no longer students at Quinnipiac. Because he is one of the chief judicial judicial officers on this campus, he must deal with such unpleasant activities. However, fortunately for Blumenthal and the students alike, Blumenthal has dismissed fewer than 20 students in his current tenure. He credits the kids for being “good, responsible students” for the lack of dismissals.

Blumenthal loves working with the students and staff of the University. He recently ran into a former hall director who is now a Dean of Students at a small school west of Quinnipiac; situations like this make Blumenthal feel good.

Blumenthal will miss the friendships that have formed while at Quinnipiac as well as the people in the Student Affairs office and many of the students and faculty throughout the campus.

He noted that he has served at Quinnipiac for an unusually long tenure. He said usually people working in higher learning work at three or four institutions of higher learning throughout their career.

When not at Quinnipiac, Blumenthal is likely to be cheering on the New York Giants from his season ticket seats. He also loves to play golf and is working to lower his handicap of 13.

He loves his four children and two daughter-in-laws, all of which graduated from Quinnipiac and two grandchildren.

“Family is very important to me,” Blumenthal said.

Dean Blumenthal’s dream is to “see my children, who are grown up, and grandkids to live long, healthy lives in a world where there is peace,” Blumenthal said.

He said it “would be nice to live in a world where you don’t see young Americans killed.”

Blumenthal enjoys reading, traveling and staying at home watching football. He also enjoys watching professional golf, “I am an average guy,” he said.

Blumenthal has witnessed a metamorphosis at Quinnipiac. He watched Quinnipiac change from a small local college to a more national university.

He saw Quinnipiac change from a commuter-based university to a school where the majority of the students live on campus. He also saw Quinnipiac begin as a college without a law school or graduate programs to a school with both.

He said in 1965, when he started, “if you applied to Quinnipiac, you basically got in. Today, 11,000 students applied and only 1300 students will actually be in the freshmen class, more than half get rejected now,” Blumenthal said.

He said President Lahey deserves a lot of the credit for the University’s success. He said that since President Lahey came in 1987, he turned Quinnipiac from, as Lahey described it in his inaugural address, “the best kept secret in Connecticut” to one of the best schools in the region.

Blumenthal has “mixed feelings” about leaving. He said, “Quinnipiac will always be in my heart and I will be back.” He said he will return to campus to as many activities as he can because “this is a wonderful place,” Blumenthal said.


About Jamie DeLoma