Students, co-workers remember Residence Director Kristina Richards

Kristina Richards

Source: Facebook

Kristina Richards

Ally Mutnick and Tyler Pager

Northwestern colleagues and students remembered Residence Director Kristina Richards on Tuesday as “a great listener” and a “dedicated professional.”

Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, announced Richards’ death Sunday evening via email. Richards had worked at NU since 2003, most recently serving as the graduate halls residence director.

Andrew Yoon (Weinberg ‘13) said Richards was “very open and approachable” during the two years he served as a community assistant under her.

During the 2010-11 school year, Yoon worked in 1835 Hinman and the year after, he worked in the Ayers College of Commerce and Industry.

“At the beginning of the year, she always made sure we were comfortable with her and we were comfortable with each other as CAs,” Yoon said. “She understood that teamwork and chemistry were such a valuable part of watching over residents.”

Yoon said she was an excellent listener and very understanding.

“She really cared for each member of her staff as well as all the residents she oversaw,” he said.

Previously an area coordinator, Richards supervised several undergraduate residence halls, including Slivka Residential College, 1835 Hinman, Jones Residential College and Sargent Hall.

Richards “always put her students first,” said Paul Riel, executive director of residential services.

“Kristina was a dedicated professional staff member who was known for her support of residential students, a commitment to Northwestern, and developing strong partnerships across the campus,” Riel wrote in an email to The Daily.

As an area director, Richards was an engaging leader who worked well with the Slivka Executive Board, said McCormick senior Holden Faber, who served on the board.

Faber said Richards helped with the Freshmen Emerging Leaders Program and Red Watch Band training.

He described her as a great resource who could always connect students with useful NU offices and departments.

“It’s one of those positions and she’s one of those people who enjoyed the human interaction component of it,” Faber said. “She really liked Northwestern students.”

Richards lived in Slivka for years and loved the community there, said Alex Fontana, a graduate student who served as an assistant master for Slivka. She was always involved with her residents, going to executive board events and often meeting with students one-on-one.

Fontana said Richards’ door was always open to students.

“She was a really active presence in their life,” Fontana said. “She was sort of like the mother of the building.”

Telles-Irvin said Richards impacted the lives of many in the NU community.

“She will be remembered for her love of her family, her strong student advocacy, her commitment to Northwestern, and for her empathy toward students,” Telles-Irvin said in the email. “Her colleagues speak of her interests in working with others and establishing effective partnerships within the campus. Her kindness, consideration and dedication to her students were special traits she held.”

A memorial service for Richards will be held in the coming weeks, Telles-Irvin said.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @allymutnick

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @tylerpager