Dean of Admissions Gail Sweezey to Retire After 41 Years at Gettysburg College

By Laken Franchetti, Editor-in-Chief

Dean of Admissions Gail Sweezey has served the campus community at Gettysburg College for 41 years in the Office of Admissions. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

At the faculty meeting on March 21, President Bob Iuliano revealed to faculty members that Dean of Admissions Gail Sweezey would be retiring at the end of July. Sweezey has served the campus community at Gettysburg College for 41 years, and she was given a round of applause from faculty when Iuliano revealed the news.

The following day, Vice President for Enrollment and Educational Services Carey Thompson sent an email to all employees that informed them of Sweezey’s retirement. In the email, Thompson recalled first meeting Sweezey and called attention to the notable work she has accomplished.

“Gail and I first met when she joined the board of the Common Application, where she eventually became board chair. She has been extraordinarily gracious and helpful in welcoming me to this role, and she has been an outstanding thought partner as we have navigated a quickly evolving enrollment environment together,” Thompson wrote. “Her work has literally changed the lives of the thousands of students she has met over the years and staff she has led over that time. She has her share of Stoles of Gratitude from Gettysburg graduates who have recognized her as a true difference maker in their lives.”

Sweezey began working at Gettysburg College in July 1983 as an Admission Counselor after graduating from Allegheny College. Her tenure within the Office of Admissions spans five Gettysburg College presidents and three vice presidents.

“When you work in admissions, you’re part of a really important profession. What I’ve always loved about it is that it’s given me an external view while also working internally for Gettysburg College. It’s a really rewarding profession in that you make connections, build professional friendships and like-minded people in the college counseling and admissions world,” Sweezey said. “I feel really lucky to have worked with very strong professionals who have strategic visions and a deep love for this place.”

Professionally, Sweezey served two rounds on the executive board of the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC) and has been active at the national level in the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Sweezey also has assisted with the College Board and acted as Chair of the Common Application to help refine the governance of the organization.

At the College, Sweezey is proud of building a data-driven Office of Admissions, implementing a graduate program with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and implementing the Early Action decision for prospective Gettysburg College students. Sweezey also reflected on her efforts to further build community at the College.

“I’m really proud of helping the College to diversify students from all backgrounds,” Sweezey shared. “I am proud of things like the Sunderman Conservatory, and recruiting students to participate in our outstanding Center for Public Service and the Garthwait Leadership Center, and getting students to participate in X-SIG—even though I’m not involved in the daily operations of those organizations, I am involved in supporting the team who represents those important high-impact experiences on campus. I’m proud of building that community here.”

Sweezey shared advice for students currently applying to college and underscored the importance of not overlooking what an institution could offer.

“Gettysburg College is about opening doors, and the kind of things that a 17-year-old thinks they want may not be what they end up doing,” Sweeney explained. “So, you have to find a place that allows you to develop your passions beyond what you think they might be. I think Gettysburg College does that better than any place that I have seen.”

When asked about faculty members who have had a lasting impact on her, Sweeney reflected on her time with former Professors of English Mary Margaret Stewart and James Pickering. Sweeney credited them with reaching out to her and making her feel part of the Gettysburg community when she began working for the College. Sweeney also highlighted the mentorship she received from former Dean of Admissions Delwin Gustafson, who hired her in 1983 and taught her “that the foundation of a strong admissions office is outstanding customer service, and that behind every application is a person.”

Gettysburg College’s Office of Admissions (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

In his email to College employees, Thompson acknowledged that Sweezey has created a lasting impact of her own: “Those of us in the Enrollment and Educational Services Division—and I am sure many faculty and staff across campus—will miss her very much and wish her the best as she enters this well-deserved next chapter in her life.”

This impact is already being seen as students and faculty members react to news of Sweezey’s retirement.

Tour guide and Student Leader in the Office of Admissions Antoinette Chango ’24 got to know Sweezey through her time spent in the Office of Admissions, as well as during orientation for the Class of 2027, where Chango worked as an Orientation Student Coordinator.

“Working with Gail has been such a treat! She always starts our semesters as tour guides with such kind and inspirational words, and is always so beyond excited to welcome students back to campus at the end of each break period,” Chango said. “I had the unique pleasure of working with Gail this past summer while working on first-year orientation and the excitement that she had to welcome students to campus was so lovely to see! Gail takes the time to get to know the students she works with, and even some students she doesn’t! She will be dearly missed!”

Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Ian Isherwood ’00 reflected on meeting Sweezey when he was applying to attend Gettysburg College as an undergraduate.

“I met Gail Sweezey during my college interview in 1995. She was incredibly enthusiastic and made Gettysburg seem like an ideal place for a nerdy seventeen-year-old prospective history major,” Isherwood shared. “At the time and since, she has understood what makes this place unique and has attracted many generations of fellow Gettysburgians. I like to think that we are a better place because of her efforts.”

Associate Professor of Political Science Scott Boddery echoed Isherwood’s sentiment, highlighting the incredible impact Sweezey has had on the Gettysburg College community.

“The dedication Gail has had for the college and our students has been truly remarkable,” Boddery said. “The time she invested to connect prospective students with faculty was significant, and it was done with care and understanding for the needs of the student.  Gail has been a delight to work with, and she will be dearly, dearly missed.”

Thompson revealed that he would assume additional responsibilities as acting Dean of Admission and will reflect on the College’s current and future needs. As for Sweezey, she is looking to enjoy her time during retirement, yet she acknowledged that she will miss watching the transformation that Gettysburg College students undergo.

“There’s a lot of things that I have loved about being here at Gettysburg College,” Sweezey said. “I am going to miss watching the students I have admitted transform. That is the key, and that is the piece I will miss the most—the transformations that I have seen every single day that have given me energy and have always kept me going.”

This article originally appeared on pages 12 to 13 of the No. 2 April 2024 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

Author: Laken Franchetti

Laken Franchetti ’24 serves as the Editor-in-Chief for The Gettysburgian. She has previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and as a staff writer for the news and arts and entertainment sections. Laken is an English with a writing concentration and history double major. On-campus, she is the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus, the Nonfiction Genre Head for The Mercury and a user services assistant at Musselman Library. Laken is also a Lincoln scholar and spent the Fall ’22 semester abroad in London and Lancaster, England. In her free time, Laken is an avid film fan and enjoys reading.

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  1. I am not a Gettysburgian but a former college counselor at Bronxville HS in Westchester County in NYS. My position allowed me to know Gail as she began her career in college admissions when she would visit the high school on a recruiting trip or whenever we would meet at college board regional conference. She displayed then, and I am sure for the entire 41 years at your school, an intelligence and a sense of integrity that made her a person that one could trust and call upon to give you a fair hearing when you presented a student seeking admission to Gettysburg. All hail to Gail and I wish her a fruitful and exciting time as she moves on to the next stage of her life.

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