Dr. Matha Thornton to Join St. John Fisher College as Vice President for Student Affairs

September 29, 2017

After a nationwide search, St. John Fisher College has named Dr. Matha Thornton as the new vice president for student affairs.

Matha Thornton

In this role, Thornton will lead the areas of residential life, campus life, health and wellness, multicultural affairs and diversity programs, dining services, the bookstore, and safety and security. Thornton’s appointment is effective January 1, 2018.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Dr. Thornton to the College and to the Rochester community,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College. “Her experience reflects her strong leadership of student affairs and her collaborative approach to integrating student affairs into the larger College community.  Her professional achievements will enhance and benefit the good work that is already underway on our campus.”

Thornton has spent the last five years at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, as the vice president for student affairs and dean of students.  She also served as the College’s Title IX coordinator.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to join the Fisher family,” said Thornton, who will also serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and Senior Staff. “It will be a privilege leading the talented members of the student affairs team and partnering in their contributions to student learning and development. I look forward to getting to know more students, faculty, and staff, and am thrilled to join a community that is genuinely dedicated to students’ growth and success.”

At Randolph, she provided direction and oversight to several departments related to student life, including residence life, the health and counseling centers, campus safety and security, violence protection and victim advocacy, student conduct, leadership and engagement, international student services, multicultural student services, and spiritual life. Among her accomplishments was the implementation of social justice training into new student orientation and, through a $100,000 grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Foundation, the creation of a community-based learning program with a social justice framework.

Thornton was also an active member of the Randolph community, serving on a variety of committees, including the Care Team, which she instituted and chaired. Including colleagues from student affairs, academic affairs, and athletics, the Care Team provided behavior intervention services to students. She also served on the Threat Assessment Team, Sexual Misconduct Policy Committee, and Critical Incident Management Team, among others.

Previously, Thornton has held positions at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York and Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and industrial relations from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in higher education from Florida State University, and a doctoral degree in higher education from the University of Virginia.