As the first day of classes draws near, Ginger Ambler is gearing up to welcome William and Mary’s students back to campus much like she has every other August for the last 17 years. But this time, she’ll be doing it all with a new title.
Ambler took the post of interim vice president for student affairs on July 1, following the retirement of Sam Sadler, who served in the position for four decades. Ambler, who previously served as the College’s assistant vice president of student affairs, said that her first two months in the new position have been very busy as she connects with old colleagues in new ways, lays the ground work for a successful transition for her division and prepares for the arrival of the new students.
“Right now, we are focused on having a successful and smooth opening of this session,” said the two-time College alumna (B.A. '88 and Ph.D. '06).
Ambler became the College’s assistant vice president for student affairs in 2001 after serving ten years as the assistant to the vice president for student affairs. Prior to working at William and Mary, she served as the acting director of career service for the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University and the assistant director or residential life at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.
In recent years, she has served as the co-chair of the William and Mary Women’s Network, a member of the Student Affairs Diversity Task Force and a co-facilitator of the undergraduate Women’s Leadership Program. Ambler has been actively involved in assessment activity at both the division and the university level, and she currently serves on a number of college-wide committees.
In the coming months, Ambler said she hopes to build relationships with students, meeting with them to hear concerns and see how the College can support them. And, as she gets to know the students, Ambler hopes they get to know her, too.
“I hope they’ll get to know who I am as an individual because my connections with students have always been one of the richest aspects of my work,” she said. “I hope they will come to recognize my face, and I hope that when they see me, they will stop and feel comfortable talking, whether that’s on campus or in a meeting or whatever the setting might be.”
Though last year held many changes for the campus community – including Sadler’s retirement – Ambler, in her new post, hopes to convey to students that much remains the same about her alma mater and theirs.
“The things that have made William and Mary special -- the sense of community that we have, the caring about individual students, the richness of opportunity for students both in the classroom and out of the classroom – those things are still here, they’re still important,” said Ambler. “They are a value of mine as they were a value of Sam’s. I had the privilege of having him as a mentor all these years, so we have a lot of shared values, and I hope the consistency of our focus on students will be something that they’ll recognize and be comforted by.”