Nancy Giacomini: Udel Alum And Resident Hall Director

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Giacomini. Nancy is a University of Delaware alumni who held various jobs across campus in the 80s and 90s ranging from the residence hall director for the old Caesar Rodney complex to working in the Dean of Students office in 1989.

HC: When did you graduate and with what degrees?

NG: I graduated from the University of Delaware with my doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership in 2001. I arrived at UD out of my masters program in counseling psychology from Kutztown University in 1986. My 1983 undergraduate degree is in psychology from West Chester University.

HC: What specifically was your position at the University of Delaware?

NG: I was a hall director in Rodney Hall A/B for my first two years and then moved to Pencader (previously a dorm complex) as an area coordinator before being promoted into the Dean of Students office for a role adjudicating student code of conduct allegations. I was promoted to Assistant Dean of Students in 1989 and left the role in 1998 to become a Conflict Resolution Program associate in the Institute for Public Administration.

HC: What was the coolest part about being a residence hall director?

NG: I loved living on campus. What I liked most was working with students and a student staff to help create a supportive active campus community.

HC: Do you have any wild stories from your time as a residence hall director?

NG: Wild stories ... hummmm ... I recall one weekend when a floor had a party and ripped a water fountain off the wall, sending a flood of water into the lobby. I came home dressed in heels for a date and had to wade through several inches of water to confront those responsible and shut down the water. It is also fun to remember that we had a great cohort of live-in professionals while I was a hall director and each weekend we would go across the street to a restaurant long since gone, to dance to DJ Rockin' Rodney!

HC: What has been the most rewarding part about being a residence hall director?

NG: The most rewarding part of my live on role was creating relationships with staff and students that have lasted all my life. I wasn't a student but living in the halls helped me find a special community too.

HCWhat does it mean to you to be a University of Delaware alumni?

NG: I am very proud to be a UD alumni. I spent the better part of my adult life there after all, as both a student and professional, met and married my husband who is also an alum (and former RA!) of nearly 25 years at a UD basketball game, discovered Dewey Beach DE, graduated with a doctoral degree with a toddler and baby in tow and established myself in the field of student conduct and conflict management along the way. I would have been a proud parent no matter where my daughter chose to attend college, but I have to say that there is nothing better than being a UD Mom ... it is my favorite Delaware role yet!

HC: How have the skills you learned as a residence hall coordinator helped in your future endeavors?

NG: I learned so many things during my time at UD. Mostly, I learned that I loved residence life and student conduct practice and ended up wanting to pursue a career in higher education administration. Nobody goes to college thinking, "Hey, I want to study higher ed administration and work in discipline"; instead, we often find our life's work out of the experiences we have in extracurricular activities and in the residence halls rather than the classroom and that is what happened for me. My time on campus evolved into a wonderfully diverse career in education advocating for justice, equity, access and inclusion on campus as a conduct and title IX administrator, special education mediator and adjunct faculty member. I learned a lot about myself along the way, which is the only authentic way to really do this work in the first place. I feel really lucky to have discovered a career in campus life and higher education and wouldn't have changed a thing in hindsight. In fact, I loved it so much I am now doing it full time again at Swarthmore College!

Nancy is not only a distinguished member of the University of Delaware, she is also my mother! I am proud to be learning at an institution so close to her heart and professional life.