Deb Duren, Vice President for Student Services and longtime athletics director at Stephens, is retiring at the end of this academic year, leaving behind a legacy of service and commitment to women’s education. Duren came to Stephens as head volleyball coach in 1984. She became a faculty member and chair of the Physical Education department four years later. In 1994, she was named athletics director and dean of students, earning a promotion to vice president in 2005.
“She will be long remembered and appreciated for her years of dedication and service, and for her commitment to Stephens College,” said Nikki Krawitz, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “She has always kept the welfare of students foremost in her mind. She is kind and fair and at the same time demanding, always expecting students to perform to a high standard. Her contributions to the success of our students both on campus and after graduation are immeasurable.”
During her 31 years at Stephens, Duren has been a constant and enduring champion of its students, its values and its programs—from athletics and student leadership to pets on campus. Under her leadership and direction, Stephens has become the pet-friendliest campus in the nation, an innovation that has contributed significantly to enrollment growth over the past three years.
“Deb is not at all like your typical boss,” said Erin Mazzola ’13 M.S.L., Director of Student Services. “She’s a mentor. She’s someone who has taught me more in five years than I could have ever imagined. If, during my career, I develop her work ethic and her ability to work with all different kinds of people, I’ll consider myself lucky. She truly cares about her employees, their well-being and their happiness.”
Faculty and staff gathered Wednesday to celebrate Duren’s contributions to Stephens and to wish her well in retirement.
“Stephens is a better place because she’s been a part of it,” Tony Coleman, Director of Campus Security, said during his remarks. “She’s made everyone’s lives she's been a part of better. I know personally that being around her for the past six years has made me become a better person.”
During Wednesday's celebration, Dr. Dianne Lynch announced that she and her husband, Philip Coleman, have established a new scholarship fund — the Deb Duren Scholar-Athlete Scholarship — in honor of Duren’s longstanding commitment to student-athletics.
"The Deb Duren Scholar-Athlete Scholarship will support an outstanding student-athlete who reflects the work ethic, values and commitments that Deb so truly represents,” Lynch said.
She encouraged the college’s faculty, staff and alumnae to contribute to the new scholarship as well. “I am confident our community will respond with generosity and support for this tribute to Deb and her contributions to Stephens."
Anyone interested in making a donation to the fund in Duren's honor should contact Meichele Foster, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Initiatives, at [email protected]
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