Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


Printable Finding Aid

Search All Finding Aids

Archival Collections

Manuscript Collections
Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids
Title:Division of Student Affairs records
Dates: 1933-2008 (bulk 1965-1985)
Call Number:A84

Historical Note

The Division of Student Affairs was originally known as the Office of the Dean of Students. The first dean was Harold Wesley Melvin, who served from the office's inception in 1930 until 1957. In the 1950s, the office comprised a dean of freshmen, dean of women, and dean of men. In 1970, the Office of Dean of Students was reorganized into the Division of Student Affairs, and many of the tasks that had originally been handled directly by the dean and his assistants were separated into departments that reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Among these services were counseling and testing, student housing, and financial aid. In 1971, the positions of Dean of Freshmen, Dean of Women, and Dean of Men were replaced with the positions of Dean and Associate Dean of Students. The Division of Student Affairs continues to oversee programs and services relating to student life today. It provides academic support through the Disability Resource Center and through Special Support Programs; administers cultural and personal centers such as the African-American Institute, the International Student and Scholar Institute, the Latino/a Student Cultural Center, the Center for Counseling and Student Development, and the Office of Spiritual Life; and deals with student social life through the Curry Student Center, the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, and the Department of Residential Life. The Division of Student Affairs reports to the Office of the Provost.

In 1979, John D. O'Bryant was appointed Northeastern's Vice President of Student Affairs. He was born in Boston on July 15, 1931 and was educated in the Boston public schools. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Boston University. After serving in the U.S. Army, he worked as a teacher and a guidance counselor in the Boston public schools from 1955 to 1969. In 1969, he developed the Health Vocational Training Program at the Dimock Community Health Center and directed that program until he joined Northeastern as Associate Dean of University Administration in 1978. O'Bryant served as president of the Boston School Committee and as national chairman of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, and founded a number of local and statewide education advocacy groups. He died in 1992.
1930 Office of the Dean of Students established; Harold W. Melvin, first dean
1956Counseling and Testing Center established
1958Gilbert G. MacDonald becomes Dean of Students
1969Afro-American Institute, later named the African-American Institute, founded
1970Office of the Dean of Students reorganized into the Division of Student Affairs; Gilbert MacDonald becomes Vice President for Student Affairs
1971Positions of Dean of Freshmen, Dean of Men, and Dean of Women replaced by Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Students
1974English Language Center established
1975International Student and Scholar Institute (International Students Office) established
1979John D. O'Bryant becomes Vice President of Student Affairs
1992John D. O'Bryant dies; Karen Rigg becomes Vice President for Student Affairs
1993African-American Institute renamed the John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute
1994Extended freshman orientation program initiated

Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University: An Emerging Giant: 1959-1975. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1982.

Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University: Coming of Age: The Ryder Years: 1975-1989. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995.