Dean Chris Colombo to Retire

July 06, 2015

To the members of the MIT community,

I write to share the news that Costantino (Chris) Colombo will retire from his post as MIT's dean for student life after seven years of service. He will continue to serve as dean until a successor is appointed, and will then serve as an advisor to me until June 30, 2016.

With this step, Chris will complete a remarkable, 40-year career of service to undergraduate and graduate students at MIT, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins. He has been a mentor and coach to many student affairs professionals; today, the profession is populated with these individuals in senior positions at many universities.

As head of MIT's Division of Student Life (DSL) since 2008, Chris has managed a large portfolio, encompassing the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation; Residential Life; Student Development and Support; and Religious Life. He has been instrumental in overseeing several major changes impacting student life: DSL introduced a new, comprehensive dining plan; revised both summer and conference housing policies; established a deferred-maintenance fund for dorms; instituted area directors in all dorms; and assisted in the reopening of Maseeh Hall as a newly renovated, 490-bed undergraduate dorm.

I am pleased that Chris' successor will be able to build upon this important work. In the coming weeks, I will form an advisory search committee, and charge it with recommending a list of candidates. Suggestions and comments from the community are welcome, and should be sent to

Please join me in thanking Chris for his service to our community, and in wishing him good luck in all his future endeavors.


Cynthia Barnhart