Date: October 1, 2021
At the lynchpin of all educational institutions is the Registrar. The work and talents of the most brilliant instructors and gifted students all fall down when the degree programs aren’t thought through, the classes aren’t scheduled coherently, and the classrooms are overbooked. And the various offices of student services are also key to ensuring that students are properly onboarded and cared for.
For the last nine years, the Seminary has benefitted enormously from the work and talents of Rachel Holm. She began in 2012 as Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid and became Registrar in 2017. Rachel took every single part of her responsibilities seriously. She reviewed every degree audit and the exact spelling of every name on every diploma as if her life depended on it. She project-managed VTS moving to the Hub with such creativity and dedication that Blackbaud now regularly profiles her and VTS in their promotional materials. I’m particularly grateful that she was in place to help us manage classroom setups and scheduling during the pandemic. At one early point in the planning during spring 2020, she summarized the problem as a 3-D puzzle with no edges and no photo from which to work. And, far from giving her an excuse simply to throw up her hands in despair, she took up the challenge with relish.
In addition to her consistent professionalism, Rachel was also a ton of fun. Dressing up for Halloween, decorating her office door with seasonal stickers, cheering on her beloved Pittsburgh teams, gushing on about the deep artistry of Taylor Swift, leaving from work to meet up with her bocce ball team — one rarely left her office or lunch table without hearing her hearty and cheering laugh.
What’s next for Rachel? She will continue with higher education in the role of consultant, supporting schools as they determine which student information and learning management systems they will engage. And she’ll devote more time to promoting the work of romance novelists and writing her own novels as well. In the future, you may see her in Old Town Books in her new role as events director, and maybe even on the New York Times list as a bestselling author! So even as I’m sad that she’s leaving, I’m so impressed with her courage and drive to take this next step.
If you are on campus, please stop by 1823 today from 3:00-4:50 p.m. to celebrate Rachel and to cheer her on her way. While you are there, please also introduce yourself to our new Registrar and Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Gail-Selina Hewitt-Clarke, Ph.D.
The Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs & Associate Professor of Old Testament