Louise Lonabocker, executive director of student services and University registrar for the past 20 years and one of the founding members of BC’s enrollment management team, has announced that she will retire from Boston College at the end of the semester, ending 46 years of distinguished service to the University.
A trusted, universally respected and gracious presence in Lyons Hall who served hundreds of thousands of BC students and faculty and three University presidents, Lonabocker oversaw the invaluable, albeit often unglamorous, work of record-keeping central to a university’s functioning, including records and registration, financial aid, student employment, class scheduling, student meal plans and course evaluations, among other services. Whether keeping track of freshmen class credits or providing transcripts to alumni, Lonabocker and her team quietly and effectively met the needs of the Boston College community, while maintaining a commitment to customer service that set the standard in higher education.
“I arrived at Boston College from western Massachusetts 46 years ago after accepting a secretarial position in the Office of Undergraduate Admission,” said Lonabocker. “At the time, I expected to be here a year or two and then relocate. Within a year I was hooked and I did move, but it was to be closer to the University. I was engaged in my work, started pursuing degrees, had outstanding mentors and colleagues who encouraged and supported my development, met people who became close friends, and found my niche in the profession.”
That niche enabled Lonabocker to successfully accommodate the University’s growth from a local and regional school to a national and international university, and its corresponding explosion in record-keeping and data management, without ever sacrificing its commitment to customer service.
“Student Services was formed to provide outstanding customer service,” said Lonabocker. “From the outset, staff looked for ways to consolidate, simplify, and continuously improve our service to students and families via in-person and online services. They continue to do so by listening to recommendations from customers and brainstorming at meetings and retreats.”
Lonabocker’s announcement has elicited high praise from colleagues for an administrator whose unwavering professionalism and commitment endeared her to generations of BC students, faculty and staff, as well as parents and alumni.
“Louise’s contributions to Boston College over a 46-year career are significant.” said Nanci Tessier, vice provost for enrollment management. “A key member of the enrollment management team since its inception in the 1970s under Jack Maguire, Louise has worked to constantly improve Student Services’ offerings to the faculty, staff and students of Boston College. Thus, it is not surprising that a member of the BC community once said to me, ‘There is nothing Louise cannot do.’ We all have reason to be grateful to Louise for her foresight, ingenuity, collaboration, and dedication to the University.”
Halley McLain, a Human Resources director who worked with Lonabocker for more than two decades, said her colleague generously extended herself to others in both work and volunteer capacities, while always maintaining good-humor in her endeavors.
"Unassuming, quietly effective and egalitarian, Louise exemplifies the blending of compassion with competence in leadership,” said McLain. “A collaborator, Louise successfully led the merging of multiple departments into the new Student Services organization nearly 20 years ago, a major organizational and cultural transition that provides students with the efficiencies of a one-stop service experience. Louise as a leader, manager, and colleague will be greatly missed by the BC community."
Rita Owens, a senior lecturer in the Carroll School of Management and former executive director of academic technology, offered a similar assessment.
“My colleague Louise is, quite frankly, an amazing woman who has definitely ‘set the world aflame’ in her years of service to Boston College. In her quiet yet determined way she has influenced so much about how we serve students and faculty, always striving towards excellence. Louise transformed student services at Boston College and she has long been a national leader in her field. She's the kind of person who spreads good will and helps so many individuals, usually behind the scenes, never seeking attention or accolades. I was lucky she hired me in 1979; I'm luckier still that she's my great friend.”
Lonabocker says that the new EagleApps student information system, which is scheduled to go live next spring, requires new leadership for the future, which ultimately played a role in her decision to end her accomplished career. “There is never a good time to retire, but a strong foundation is in place, the staff is exceptional, and new technologies will result in incremental and transformative change for the University.”
Upon retirement, Lonabocker says that she looks forward to continuing her volunteer efforts with the Brookline Food Pantry and the Tanglewood Glass House, and to extensive travelling that includes “the numerous trips in my head just waiting to be fleshed out.”
“Boston College is a wonderful community of dedicated teachers and scholars, students ready to set the world aflame, and colleagues, like me, who never even think about leaving,” said Lonabocker. “The campus is stunning, Ignatian values are inspirational, and I was always thrilled to tell people where I work and what I do. I never aspired to this career, but what a great career it has turned out to be. I can honestly say I never dreaded Monday mornings, or any other day.”
—Jack Dunn | University Communications