By: Lauren Wolters
After 23 years at the University of Findlay Dave Emsweller retires
Dave Emsweller, the Vice President of Student Affairs, plans to retire at the end of the Fall 2021 semester.
“I just feel I’m at a point where I would like to sort of go and do some different types of things,” Emsweller said. “So, part of it is I want to do some different things that I haven’t been able to do, and I also want to sort of move away from a completely full-time position.”
Emsweller hopes to do some part-time, independent counseling after he retires from the University of Findlay.
Emsweller started at the UF Dec. 1, 1998. He started as the Dean of Students, overseeing aspects like housing, student activities, health, counseling, dining services, and security. He became the Vice President of Student Affairs in 2002.
As Vice President of Student Affairs, he supervises the Academic Support Center, Accommodation and Inclusion, the Buford Center for Diversity and Service, Campus Ministries, Campus Safety and Emergency Management, Counseling Services, Dining Services, Facilities Scheduling and Events, Greek Life, Health Services, Housing and Residence Life, the Oiler Success Center, Recreational Services, Student Government, Student Activities, and Title IX and SA Operations Support.
In his time at UF, Emsweller facilitated a lot of events. He reflects on some of the most memorable.
“I mean there’s been so many really meaningful events over the years, you know, international night, which is a tradition year after year, that is a very special event on campus,” Emsweller said.
“We had a Jason Derulo concert,” Emsweller noted. “That was a big one, because I got to work very closely with SGA on that. That was pretty exciting because so many students came to it.”
“We’ve had political visitors on campus, and I was usually the person who coordinated these events,” Emsweller continued. “I got the opportunity to work with Secret Service and other things like that which was very interesting.”
Emsweller claims that his ‘best memory ever’ in his time at UF was when the 2009 men’s basketball team went 36-0 on their way to an NCAA Division II Championship.
In addition to his duties as the VP of Student Affairs, Emsweller also heads Enrollment Management. This means he oversees financial aid, marketing, and admissions—for undergraduate, graduate, and international students. He’s held this position for about a year and a half.
Emsweller decided to retire at the end of the fall semester because he thought that would make the transition easier.
“I feel like mid-year is maybe more helpful for staff actually because we’re in the middle of the semester right now,” Emsweller said. “Things are up and running. People are already, you know, in the midst of doing things for this academic year, and most of those things will continue flowing on into spring.”
The details of how UF will operate following Emsweller’s retirement are still being determined.
“We’re talking about the different options about how certain staff members can pick up certain duties and things like that and decide how to move forward,” Emsweller said. “Before the end of the semester there will be plans in place so that things continue like they’re supposed to.”
Emsweller plans on assisting UF with the transition process once faculty decides who will be assuming his responsibilities. “Even though I might be stepping away at the end of the year, I’m still going to be available for people who have questions. . . I’m still reachable,” he said.
The Vice President of Student Affairs also helped create many important organizations at UF – like the Oiler Success Center and the Buford Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
“We came up with the Oiler Success Center as a way to make sure there was a spot that no matter what your question is you can go there–and obviously they focus on providing all sorts of help–but to make sure that there was this one place that you can go,” Emsweller said. “If they couldn’t help you, they [could] get you to where you could get help. And I think the Oiler Success Center has been critical in improving student retention over the years.”
UF dedicated the Buford Center for Diversity and Service in April 2008. Emsweller decided to create this building to honor Dez Buford, who was the Director of Intercultural Student Services at UF and died unexpectedly.
UF expanded and created a lot of student services over the years. Recreation Services were created including the construction of the Student Recreation Center and the addition of intramurals. Henderson Dining Hall underwent several renovations and expanded its services greatly.
In 2017, the opening of the College of Business and Center for Student Life (CBSL) added to food services, classrooms, and the overall student experience.
“Being involved in that was, you know, a lot of fun, and it was also very meaningful to get to be involved in all that construction,” Emsweller said about the CBSL. “We did tons of random residence hall renovations over the years too, so I got to experience a lot of all those things, it was great.”
Emsweller claims Oilers Serving Abroad to be his best accomplishment in his career at UF. He’s been on five trips with the group.
“It is a phenomenal experience,” he said. “I wish every student and employee could go on Oilers Serving Abroad.”
Emsweller’s success at UF is due to the fact that he always puts students first.
“But in the end, the focus is always on the students,” he said. “Everything that we do in student affairs is focused on students, whether it’s services, programming, whatever it might be the focus always has to be on ‘how do you make the student experience better’.”
After he retires Emsweller and his wife plan to travel to Canada for the first six months of 2022.
“I used to live there years ago,” Emsweller said. “We’re going to go back up to the Montreal area where I lived, and just spend a little time there. And then we’ll see after that. We’re trying not to really commit ourselves beyond that at this point. We’ll sort of see where things lead after that.”
Emsweller accomplished a lot of good things for UF, and he has a lot of good things to say about his time working for the university.
“I’ve been here a long time, so really what I’ll miss the most is just the campus itself,” Emsweller said. “I’ve really enjoyed all the time I’ve had working with students, faculty, [and] staff over the years. I’ve worked with a lot of great people, and it’s been a very good place to be.”
Featured photo courtesy of the University of Findlay Newsroom.