Union College Dean Leads Posse Campus Community

Fall 2017 | National

As dean of diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Union College, Gretchel Hathaway works on strategic initiatives throughout the school. She has also served as the Posse liaison for the past three years.

Growing up, Gretchel was the first in her family to want to go away to college. Her mother was in favor of it, but her father, she recalls, "didn’t think college was for women." As one of six children, money was also an issue.

She stuck to her vision and found a path to Manhattanville College, followed by Yeshiva University and the University of Pittsburgh for graduate and doctoral studies in psychology and social work.

"Throughout my whole life I’ve found financing or circumstances have just come together to enable me to go to school," Gretchel says.

While pursuing her education, she made a point to invest in the community, working with young children and survivors of domestic violence while at Yeshiva and directing the student counseling center at Pittsburgh.

As Posse liaison at Union, Gretchel is a bridge connecting the campus network of mentors, Scholars, faculty and administration.

"I watch the Scholars grow and learn about themselves and the community," says Gretchel. "They’ll see a global issue and they want to do something—a rally, a march in silence, raise money. It’s a joy seeing these students bring skills learned from Posse about how to be a good leader. It’s working. They’re flourishing."

Union College has recruited Posse Scholars from Boston since 2005. Their 13th Posse was admitted last December.

Gretchel says she has a personal investment in the Scholars’ success, and she sees the same commitment from Union mentors, faculty and administration, including Union College President Stephen Ainlay.

"I constantly ask myself, ‘Have they found that passion? Have they been lifted up by this experience?’" says Gretchel, of Union’s Posse Scholars. "As a college, we are learning from them. We share the legacy they leave."