I’m writing with exceptionally mixed emotions to say that after seven years at the Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Service, Nora Heaphy is leaving to become the director of the Cahn Fellows Program at Columbia Teacher’s College. Those who worked with her surely will have recognized her as an utterly dedicated and visionary leader at the Center. Under her careful guidance, we built a multi-faceted service-learning program, expanded the range and quality of the scholarship activities for students, developed new ways to support faculty and built an exceptional team dedicated to promoting leadership and service at CCNY.
Nora was the Center’s first full-time staff member when, in 2005, we hired her to run our new service-learning program. She developed the initial training and workshop module for that program, invented the concept of our community engagement program, and envisioned and built the dynamic and growing New York Metropolitan Area Partnership for Service-Learning (NYMAPS). In putting these programs together, Nora developed the core service-learning philosophy that still guides our work at the Center. She also began to pull together a network of faculty and community organizations that remains central to our success.
In 2008, Nora became the Center’s deputy director. We agreed that she would take primary responsibility for programs and that I would focus more on the Center’s external relations. Under her stewardship, the Center undertook a period of expansion that produced our current programming. Led by a careful and far sighted strategic planning process, we added scholarship lines, developed a clearer mission statement, and began to hire the staff that would bring that vision to life. In the years that followed, Nora oversaw great growth—assessing program accomplishments, mentoring new staff members, and continuing creatively to pursue our core goals. Nora profoundly shaped the work we do at the Center, and touched every corner of our activity.
With characteristic far-sightedness and care, Nora began to talk about leaving the Center almost a year ago, driven by a search for the same personal and professional growth that she insisted the rest of us pursue. She spent a good deal of the time since then preparing us her departure, and we all wish her great happiness and huge success directing the Cahn Fellows Program. I have been deeply happy, over these years, to take advice and direction from Nora, to share with her the privilege of planning Center activities; to celebrate our successes and reflect on our setbacks. She has been a friend and a teacher to me, and I’ll profoundly miss her. —Vince Boudreau
Vince Boudreau, Ph.D., is the director of the Colin Powell Center. Read more about him and our other writers here.