Burgwell Howard to leave Northwestern for position at Yale

Paige Leskin, Managing Editor

Burgwell Howard, Northwestern’s assistant vice president for student engagement, will be leaving the University for a position at Yale University at the end of the school year.

Howard accepted a job at the Ivy League school to be the associate vice president for student engagement and the senior associate dean of the undergraduate school.

Howard said he informed NU administrators of his new position this week.

Howard’s announcement comes a few days after Yale announced it hired his wife, Jennifer Richeson, a psychology professor at NU. She will teach psychology at Yale beginning in 2016.

Yale plans to expand its undergraduate population by 15 percent in 2017 — a major decision Howard said he is excited to have a role in.

“It’s a unique opportunity to impact Yale’s future,” he said. “It was a little too good to resist.”

Yale’s East Coast location will bring Howard and Richeson closer to relatives and their childhood homes, Howard said.

Nevertheless, Howard said he will miss NU, where he has worked for 10 years.

NU spokesman Bob Rowley said the school will miss the years of dedication both Howard and Richeson brought to NU, but added he is thrilled the two are moving on to “big things” at Yale.

“Burgie has shown amazing leadership and devotion to the students,” Rowley said. “We wish them both well and success in their next endeavors.”

In his administrative role, Howard often worked with student group leaders.

Julia Watson, outgoing Associated Student Government president, said Howard helped the organization to create its Student Engagement stipend and provided insight into funding reform.

Watson, a Weinberg senior, characterized Howard as incredibly personable and said he always talked with her about NU football and Massachusetts, where they’re both from.

“He’s a super warm and inviting person,” Watson said. “Whenever you see him, he always has a smile and is excited to see you and stop and chat.”

Mayfest co-chairs Ian Robinson and Justin Wolf said Howard has been instrumental in assisting their group, including with implementing the new wristband policy for Dillo Day.

Wolf, a Communication senior, said Howard “genuinely cared” about students.

“I’m going to miss his overwhelmingly positive personality and outlook on things,” said Robinson, a Medill senior. “We have faced some very bleak situations in years past in regards to Mayfest stuff, and it’s always been kind of nice to just have Burgie there as a positive voice that’s always going to come back and give us a good pep talk and get us going again.”

Howard said he spoke with Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, about finding his successor. Howard said he wants to ensure there’s a “smooth transition” so students are not negatively impacted.

Watson said the University will have to do an extensive search to find a proper replacement for Howard.

“They’re going to have to … find somebody who’s equally as committed to engaging with students on such a genuine level and being there for events, being there for people on an individual basis, really being there for Northwestern as a school in general,” Watson said.

This post was updated April 12 at 10:25 p.m. with comment from Ian Robinson, Julia Watson and Justin Wolf.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @paigeleskin