The Collegian
Monday, April 15, 2024

Director of Student Involvement Andrew Gurka ends 18-year career at UR

Director of Student Involvement Andrew Gurka ended his career at UR on Feb. 9. Courtesy of Vittoria Tripp.
Director of Student Involvement Andrew Gurka ended his career at UR on Feb. 9. Courtesy of Vittoria Tripp.

Director of Student Involvement Andrew Gurka marked the last day of his 18-year career at the University of Richmond on Friday, Feb. 9.

Gurka began his career at UR as an area coordinator in 2005, and was then promoted to director of Living-Learning programs in 2009.

As director of Living-Learning Programs, Gurka developed the Sophomore Scholars in Residence program, which he said was one of his proudest accomplishments during his time at UR.

“SSIR is in its 15th year now,” Gurka said. “I’m really proud of the living-learning programs and how we made them distinctive and interesting.”

In 2019, he was named director of New Student and Transition Programs, and in 2021, became director of student involvement.

As director of student involvement, Gurka oversaw the success of new student programs, living-learning programs such as the Richmond Endeavor and SSIR, and student engagement, including fraternity and sorority life.

Despite his pride in his achievements at UR, Gurka is excited to move on to a new chapter of his career. His new position will be director of student programs at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Gurka said part of the appeal of the move was that he and his husband would be closer to their family in Pennsylvania, but that he also felt that the time was right to move on.

“We both are just trying to think about what’s next for our careers and wanting to think about different careers,” Gurka said. “You know, I’ve been here for eighteen years.”

The Longwood Gardens position appealed to Gurka because as director of student programs, he would still be able to apply his passion for working with students and developing student programs.

“I still get to work with students and develop experiential learning, which I love doing,” he said. “I helped develop Endeavor and SSIR, which are really experiential learning programs.”

UR has already begun its search for Gurka’s successor. Vice President of Student Development Steve Bisese is heading a search committee that will review incoming applications and conduct interviews with candidates, Gurka said.

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“I think their goal is obviously to bring finalists to campus while students are still here, so that they can meet them because this is a highly visible, student-visible sort of position,” he said.

Although Gurka’s reasons for leaving UR are happy ones, colleagues still expressed their sadness over his departure.

“We were all really sad to hear that he is leaving us, but obviously very, very happy for him and his husband,” said Associate Director of Student Engagement Vittoria Tripp. “We think the world of them. I love them both, and so I think this is a great opportunity for them.”

Bisese echoed these sentiments in an email to the student development team on Jan. 3. “He will be hard to replace,” Bisese wrote, “but we are glad for this incredible opportunity that awaits him.”

Contact executive editor Kelsey McCabe at kelsey.mccabe@richmond.edu.

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