David Milstone retires after 39 years

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By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Dave Milstone will be locking the doors to his office of the campus center, room 224 on April 30, 2018 and handing in his keys as he ventures into retirement life. Milstone spent 39 years in higher education and the remainder of the past 12 as Vice Chancellor here at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. 

There is no doubt that the space he will feel once he retires will be those that fulfilled his time in office. “I will miss the students most of all- no question. I feel like they are all part of my family and I am honored that many allowed me to feel like a part of theirs,” stated Milstone. “To watch students, grow over their four or five years is something that is hard to explain, but I would wish that experience for everyone. There are so many, many very special colleagues and friends I have had the great fortune to get to know and work with over my years here… I can honestly say that these folks are the crème of the crop.”  

Milstone is a jack of all trades and works hard each day he walks through the door. “What made this position so wonderful each day was how different it was each day. I was able to work with students who needed financial support to continue their education; advise student leaders who planned programs or sought to change the University’s policy to help students enjoy their experience, gain their voices, and grow as adults; coordinate campus wide programs, such as Commencement and Convocation where I was able to work with amazing groups of people; work with faculty and deans to try to enhance processes and resolve classroom challenges, with spending lots of time with my amazing department heads to support their hard work…” said Milstone. “I have truly enjoyed every part of it all.”  

Looking to the future the UMass Dartmouth community can look forward to Milstone following another one of his passions…becoming an author. “I have had the pleasure of teaching a leadership class here at UMass for many years- that was my focus of my doctorate and one of my passions in life. I am privileged to now have the time to dedicate to writing a couple of leadership books that I hope will help an aspiring leader be effective and current leaders to become more effective,” said Milstone eagerly. “I really look forward to doing this.” 

Before leaving Milstone has some parting words for both the students and faculty of UMass Dartmouth: 

To UMass Dartmouth Students: 

“I encourage you to not let anything stop you short of your dreams and passions. There will definitely be obstacles along the way, and for many of you, you have already forged through many such obstacles. Don’t let anyone change our desire to make things better- your creativity and your energy should never be minimized by someone else,” said Milstone. “You are so very special.”  

To the staff and faculty at UMass Dartmouth: 

“I have such respect for the amount of your lives you have dedicated to helping students achieve their dreams, one day at a time. Keep in mind why you work here and when times get tough, focus on your mission, not the irritants. Stay positive, despite things you disagree with happening at times, because in the end, your influence on each student and employee with whom you connect will change things for the better,” stated Milstone early last week.  

Students will miss his presence here on campus and the work he has done in order to help them succeed “Dr. Milstone is one of my favorite faculty members here on campus. He has always been an advocate for the students and was always open to hear our ideas and concerns… I am so grateful to have been a student here while Milstone was in office because it was nice to witness how caring he was about our student affairs,” said Senior psychology major Malinthi Fernando. “It was a privilege to get to know him and see him at all of our events…” 

His staff will greatly miss his presence in the office and relays him the following special messages: 

“I have known David since my senior year in college, some twenty-six years ago. I remember that first RA training, and how I had a nasty case of laryngitis, which made all of those ice breakers and teambuilders a real challenge. It’s funny reflecting back on that now I realize that I actually found my voice during that first ‘camp RA’ retreat,” said Associate Dean of Students Shelly Scott. “Even then, as Director of Housing & Residential Programs, David created a team that promoted mutual respect, student centeredness and a sense of fun. At twenty years old, I was still evolving into my adult self. Because of David, I experienced my first campfire, my first s’more, and my first realization that student development was an actual career… So much as happened since then, and he has believed in me through my victories as well as my defeats. I will always be grateful to David for mentoring me…” 

“I will miss Dr. David Milstone…he wears my favorite shade of rose colored glasses,” said Associate Dean of Student/Director of Housing and Residential Education Lucinda Aarason. “Remember though, at ‘closing time…every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end’ (Closing Time, Dan Wilson, Semisonic, 1999). Enjoy your new beginning Dave.” 

“I started at UMass Dartmouth over nine years ago. The interview process at the Director level involves discussions with the search committee, division leaders, and finally the Vice Chancellor and Assistant Chancellor of Student Affairs. I was so nervous. David instantly put me at ease with his calm and kind demeanor,” said Director for the Center for Access and Success Wendy Chaka. 

He was a huge help to all. “He helped me every step of the way professionally to ease into my position and even enlisted his family to help me find suitable housing because I was moving from Boston…” added Chaka. “David’s dedication to our students is well-known to all campus members. I have personally witnessed him going above and beyond for individuals on countless occasions. To him, and I quote, ‘It is just the right thing to do.’” 

From all of us at The Torch we wish Dr. Dave Milstone nothing but the best and congratulate him on all his life’s success. Thank you for all the contributions and dedication you have done to serve the students and faculty of UMass Dartmouth. We will miss you.  

Photo Courtesy: David Milstone

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