Features In Focus Profiles

Hatt's off, to you!

Katie Merwin, Dean of Students. (Photo: Kheira Morellon)
Katie Merwin, Dean of Students. (Photo: Kheira Morellon)

Katie Merwin and the University of King’s College have had a close relationship since move-in day of 2007.
Their love story started when she took the Foundation Year Program in her first year and has since blossomed into a beautiful friendship in the last decade.
Her first year at King’s was filled with good memories of lying on the grass in the quad and watching the wind play with the leaves hanging off the trees.
“The first paper I got an A on was Rousseau, so I have a soft spot in my heart for Rousseau,” Merwin said.
Her most cherished memory as a King’s student was her last FYP lecture, which was given by the late professor Angus Johnston.
It was called Bob Dylan Day on April 3, 2009. Merwin still remembers Johnston’s ability to connect the pop culture surrounding Bob Dylan, as it was “Bob Dylan Day – with eternal themes and questions are often talked about in FYP.
“It was this beautiful moment where students and faculty came together to perform music. Not only did they perform in Alumni Hall for this lecture, but there was also a big concert in the Wardroom after.”
After finishing her bachelor of arts, Merwin’s story with King’s wasn’t over yet. In 2013, she returned as the chapel administrator and a don for two years. The following year she became the Dean of Students.
“In applying for this role, there was certainly a sense of wanting to give back (to the community),” Merwin said.
“I benefited from the support, the nurturing and care that the residence students receive” she said.
“I had a very good fortune of having a very positive residence experience in my first year here in Alex Hall.”
During Merwin’s first year, the Dean would only take care of the students living in residence. With King’s having such a close community it didn’t seem right for the Dean to be exclusively providing support to those living on campus.
The evolution of Dean of Residence to Dean of Students has naturally evolved under Nick Hatt, Merwin’s predecessor and mentor during her time as a don.
“I feel like I am inheriting a lot of his work,” she said.
“Now the role has encompassed a much larger group which I think is really beneficial to everyone. If you are a day student and don’t live on campus how do you get that support? Who’s your ‘don’ that you can turn too in case of struggle?”
One of her goals as our new Dean of Student is to create a force of people that can help and support one another, living in or out of residence. For Merwin, every student deserves the same kind of support.
Ultimately, she wants all students to feel like they have someone that will listen to them and that have been trained for the kind of support that they might need.
To achieve this specific goal, she has given priority to creating trusting relationships with different members of the community like the Day Students’ Society, patrol, campus staff and some of the upper year students who are still actively involved around campus.
Merwin is looking to continue the “impactful sense of care” that she says has always been part of the King’s community and that she benefited from during her time as a student.
“I want to create that network of support for students,” she said.
And to do so, she plans to have her door always open to anyone in need or that would just want to chat with her.

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