Dean Pantele’s appointment follows a comprehensive, nationwide search led by a committee composed of representatives from the faculty, staff, student body, and Board of Trustees. More than 60 experienced and highly qualified applicants were considered for the position.
A member of the Student Affairs staff since 2013, Dean Pantele has served as interim dean of students since May. Pantele became the College’s associate dean of students for student engagement and judicial affairs in 2017 after serving previously as an assistant dean of students for student activities and organizations and residence director.
“Richard epitomizes two qualities essential in a dean of students: mentorship and leadership,” said College President Larry Stimpert. “His student-first mindset makes him a powerful and effective advocate for our young men. Richard embodies the mission and values of Hampden-Sydney College, and he offers a powerful vision for student life and campus culture. I am confident that he is the right person to build on our momentum as we continue striving to offer the most transformative college experience a young man can have. His tireless efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were critical in enabling the College to remain open and in-person throughout the 2020-21 academic year, and he will bring that same level of energy to this important College leadership position.”
Throughout his tenure in Student Affairs, Dean Pantele has honed his knowledge and expertise across all areas of student life, including housing and residence life, substance use education, Greek life, student honor and conduct, student engagement and retention, high adventure, counseling services, student health, and campus safety and security. Pantele has provided transformational leadership within the division, supported and co-led departmental strategic planning efforts, and served on a variety of interdivisional task forces.
“As a student, alumnus, and staff member, Richard has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our alma mater,” said Todd Flemming ’85, who represented the Board of Trustees on the search committee. “Given his strong institutional knowledge, impressive student affairs background, and selfless devotion to fostering an incredible college experience, I’m thrilled that Richard will be Hampden-Sydney’s next dean of students.”
Much of Pantele’s work at the College has been student-focused, including advising student government organizations such as the Student Court, Student Senate, Student Finance Board, the Interfraternity Council, and College Activities Council, as well as leading training programs for resident advisors, fraternity leaders, and other student leaders and student groups.
“From the moment I first stepped on this campus and heard General Sam Wilson speak of his love for this historic institution, I knew that Hampden-Sydney College would play a significant role in my life,” Dean Pantele said. “Our college is an extraordinary place, and we are blessed to play such an important role within the realm of higher education. Our mission to form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning is not just the responsibility of our brilliant professors. The mission of the College is the responsibility of every constituency, including the entire staff and faculty, the alumni, our generous benefactors, and most of all, our students who embrace everything that the College stands for.”
Since graduating from Hampden-Sydney with a major in Government and a minor in Leadership in Public Service, Dean Pantele has completed both a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dean Pantele succeeds Robert Sabbatini, who served the College with distinction before recently accepting an appointment as the executive director of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
“I am grateful to the search committee that was expertly chaired by Professor Mike Utzinger,” Stimpert added. “Its members willingly devoted many hours of their summer to reviewing applications and identifying and interviewing an outstanding group of semi-finalists before narrowing the pool to a group of finalists who were brought to campus for in-person interviews.”
“My gratitude to the College for the development of my own character and integrity cannot be properly measured, and I feel extremely fortunate to now be able to give back to this historic institution that has given so much to me,” Pantele said. “It is an incredible honor to have been chosen as the new dean of students of Hampden-Sydney College, and I pledge to serve our family to the best of my ability for many years to come.”