Director of Wellness Programs leaves Bradley after 21 years on campus

After more than 21 years on campus, Director of Wellness Programs Melissa Sage-Bollenbach is leaving Bradley.

Sage-Bollenbach is a two time graduate from Bradley, earning both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university.  For the past 15 and a half years, she has served in the Wellness Center.

“I had an amazing experience [at Bradley],” she said.  “I met my husband here, I was involved with Greek Life and took on many leadership roles. For that, I am very grateful for my Bradley experience.”

During her time as director, Sage-Bollenbach started a number of programs targeted to benefit students, including health education and prevention programs, Help, Encourage and Teach (HEAT), Get Fit Stay Fit, Sonor and Late Night BU.

“The program I’m most proud of is Late Night BU,” she said. “It was brought forth with the Alcohol Action plan, and I think it went well.”

As a mother to a 10-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter, Sage-Bollenbach said she is leaving Bradley to spend more time with her children.

“I’m going to be a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “My daughter has some chronic health issues, so it’ll be easier to help out at home.  I’m really looking forward to it. My husband works at Caterpillar, so I will continue to stay in the Peoria area as well.”

Lyndsey Hawkins, Associate Director of Alcohol Education and Wellness, will become the interim director beginning this semester.

“I cannot say enough good things about Melissa and her job at Bradley,” Hawkins said. “She took a small, new office with little funding and turned it into a nationally recognized program.  She is an inspiration not only to me but many others in our field.”

Hawkins said she began working with Sage-Bollenbach when she was 18-years-old.

“[Sage-Bollenbach] has become my mentor and best friend during this time,” Hawkins said. “It hasn’t sunk in that I will no longer see her 40 plus hours a week.  I will miss her sense of humor and commitment to being upfront and honest about everything in life and work.”

A national search for Sage-Bollenbach’s replacement will take place this spring. As interim director, Hawkins said she will apply for the position as soon as the job search opens.

“I am looking forward to taking this next step in my career,” she said. “However, Melissa left some big shoes to fill, so of course there is some anxiety as well.”

Some of Sage-Bollenbach’s favorite memories on campus have been working with students.

“I will miss the college students the most, after watching them grow up,” she said. “I’ve met so many wonderful students throughout my career, and seen them get married and have babies. That’s what I’ll miss the most.”