Leaving a Mark: Assistant Director of Student Activities parts ways with BU

For many, Valentine’s Day is full of gifts, chocolate and excite- ment. But for Assistant Director of Student Affairs Dain Gotto, this special day may be more nerve racking than love-filled.

Earlier this week, Gotto announced that on Feb. 15 he will start his first day at Northern Illinois University as the Assistant Director of Campus Activities Board, leaving behind the Activities Council of Bradley University and an advising position with Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

“Although it is Dain’s job to work with student organizations, he took the opportunity, and took full advantage of it, to not only advise, but to grow in his under- standing of fraternity and sorority life on a college campus,” Student Activities graduate assistant and member of Lambda Chi Alpha, Kyle Malinowksi said. “The move, obviously, will be very emotional and challenging for the chapter. I believe each member could agree Dain has had a profound impact on their experiences, and the operations of the fraternity and he will be missed. “

Gotto’s new position will entail similar job duties as his position at Bradley, but because of a larger staff at NIU, he will have more support.

“I’m excited for a new challenge,” he said. “I love those opportunities where I’m forced to think in a new way. This position presents different challenges and it will be more difficult to get the word out about events on campus in comparison to Bradley.”

Gotto, who started at Bradley in the summer of 2009, will also be working toward achieving his doctorate in education at NIU.

“I decided that I am at a point in my life where I need to take these opportunities now while I still can,” he said. “And while I don’t have a partner or family to consider.”

Gotto said he was not actively searching for another position; rather he received a phone call from the Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Development of NIU and was offered the position “out of the blue.”

“This position fell into his lap and he had to take it,” said Director of Student Activities Michelle Whited. “It’s sad, but it is good for him on a professional level.”

With Gotto leaving, Malinowski will temporarily take his position and contribute more hours to the office. Whited said a national search committee will be composed this semester and they hope to hire for the position this summer.

“I’m looking for someone who has energy and drive and can keep up with students,” Whited said. “Someone who can bring a fresh perspective and push these students to think differently.”

Gotto said he has high hopes for whoever is hired as his replacement.

“What my hope is that they are able to become a part of the Bradley family and connect with the staff here,” he said. “And I hope they’re able to find new ways to challenge and encourage students.”

Even though he is moving to his second position in student activities, Gotto said he originally had another path in mind. He said he was studying secondary education and history as an undergraduate at Elmhurst College when he had a revelation.

“I was sitting in the back of a class when all of the sudden it hit me,” he said. “I walked out of class and called my mom and told her I was going to work in Student Activities. I was really confident this was what I wanted to do.”

Many students and faculty members said they are sad to see Gotto leave but they are also excited for him.

“I will miss Dain,” Malinowski said. “The quality of work he does and the dedication he has to the students has been profound for the Student Activities Office. The office, without him, will not be the same.