In February, the College welcomed our new dean of students, Kerry Greenstein. Dean Greenstein holds a B.A. in communications and American studies from Ryder University in New Jersey. He also earned an M.Ed. in student affairs practice in higher education and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Georgia Southern University. Dean Greenstein has more than 15 years of experience in higher education and brings many years of student affairs experience, most recently serving as dean of student affairs at Beacon College. We were thrilled when he joined the Sweet Briar family and we are grateful for his leadership on our student life team. Students can count on him to be a strong advocate on their behalf and to strengthen diversity and inclusion efforts across our residential community. Get to know more about our dean of students in this Q&A.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I grew up in Philadelphia but have moved around quite a bit since graduating high school. Since then I’ve lived in New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and now back to Virginia. While in college I worked as a tour guide and orientation leader and was very involved in student government and various other clubs. Through those experiences, I learned about higher education as a career opportunity and I haven’t left college since. While in Virginia the first time, I met my wife Robyn. We’ve been together 15 years and married for almost 12. We have two kids. My daughter Shayna is seven and a total daddy’s girl and my son Jacob is a typical two-year-old boy who gets into everything. We have a 12-year-old mini schnauzer Hannah and five fish.
What attracted you to working at Sweet Briar?
A few things—first, I really appreciate working for an institution that has such a clear, specific focus and I loved the mission of educating women leaders. Connected to that, I loved the idea that my daughter would see me working with such strong, independent women and would have that as a role model, seeing that there’s nothing she cannot do. The focus on leadership was also a big draw for me. In the past 5-10 years I’ve become very interested in student leadership development and so the leadership core and opportunities to develop student leadership programming in student life was exciting. Finally, Sweet Briar gave us a chance to move back closer to home and family so my kids would have more opportunities to see their grandparents.
Favorite spot on campus?
I love the view from my office. I can see the dell, everything from Prothro to the FAC and up to Fletcher, and even see the mountains in the distance. I also really like the fountain (there’s something about fountains on a campus for me).
Five favorite things about SBC?
The traditions, the wildlife on campus (it’s still a novelty to see deer all the time), the beautiful campus and all it has to offer, great people—dedicated colleagues and hard-working students, and all the opportunities as the College continues to grow and rebuild. My daughter would also be mad if I didn’t say the riding center and all the horses on campus.
Tell us about your hobbies or how you like to spend your free time.
Most of my free time is spent with my kids playing legos, doing puzzles or playing games. My family loves everything Disney—toys, movies, and of course, going to the parks which we did often when we lived in Florida. I love to read and I’m a big sports fan. I don’t get much time to watch anymore, but I love watching baseball, football, hockey and tennis when I can. We also watch way too much TV. Food Network, HGTV and reality shows like Masked Singer, Amazing Race and Holey Moley are some of our favorites.
Have you explored the surrounding region?
Not as much as we’d like. We’re building a house in Lynchburg so we’ll probably get out a lot more once we’re there.
Any favorite spots for fun, food, recreation?
I don’t know that we’ve found any real favorites yet. We’ve really enjoyed the local mini-golf courses and the children’s museum. We also liked walking around downtown Lynchburg. In time we’re looking forward to visiting the wineries and historical areas.
What’s been one of your most enjoyable experiences of working here so far?
I love the energy and excitement that surround orientation and the start of a new academic year, so that entire process was great. The orientation leaders were an amazing group of students and I especially enjoyed spending time with them during training. Then the orientation programs itself like the Daisy Ceremony, Convocation, and of course the Deans Discussion where I got to introduce myself to the new students.
What advice would you give students that will help make their college experience the best it can be?
I always tell students to get involved. There’s a lot of time outside of class, so they should find something fun and productive to do with that time. Join a club, participate in the traditions and truly become a part of the campus community.
What advice do you have for incoming first-years?
In addition to getting involved, I’d tell first-years to take advantage of all the campus resources and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. There are lots of staff here that really care about your success and want to help you.
What is most rewarding for you working in student life?
I find it really rewarding when students share their successes with us––winning awards, hosting a successful program, or getting jobs and internships. It’s also really rewarding when I’m able to help a student figure out solutions to problems and overcome challenges.