Dean of Admissions Judy Berhannan, who began working in Stony Brook University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions in 1983, will retire at the end August, leaving a legacy of student equity and opportunity.
Throughout her years at Stony Brook, Dean Berhannan has enjoyed the variety of opportunities for student interaction afforded by her position. She has connected with high school seniors during their college search process and advised graduate students on their career opportunities. Above all, she sees herself as a connector and a teacher. She feels that students who attend Stony Brook are given unlimited opportunities to expand their horizons and have an incredible range of offerings, so helping them find the path to their future has kept her doing this work for decades. Berhannan has led her team through many changes at Stony Brook and has always led from the heart. Her leadership has changed the lives of thousands of students over the course of her career.
“Judy is a true ambassador for Stony Brook and a passionate fighter for increasing diversity in our undergraduate student ranks,” said President Maurie McInnis. “Her track record of mentorship has helped many students navigate our institution along a path to success, and she leaves behind a legacy of award-winning service that has helped us attract top-performing students.”
“Very few professionals in admissions have the passion and dedication that Judy has shown to SBU students,” said Dawn Medley, vice provost of Enrollment Management and Retention. “She has always kept the student journey and experience at the heart of what she does. Judy has long advocated for social justice, equity, and access, and her departure from SBU, while well-earned, will challenge us to ensure that her legacy of student opportunity will be maintained. For almost 40 years, she has shaped SBU and changed the lives of our students. I can think of no better example of a mission-driven leader than Judy, and I wish her a wonderful new phase of growth.”
Berhannan earned her BA in English and secondary education from Adelphi University and her MA in education and college student development from C.W. Post. She began her career at Stony Brook as an admission counselor in Undergraduate Admissions in 1983. Prior to her appointment as dean of admissions, she served as associate dean, coordinating the university’s multicultural recruitment efforts.
During her career at Stony Brook, she has served as an advisor to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Mentor Program, Minorities in Medicine, the National Society of Black Engineers and the SAINTS. She has received the President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, the State University of New York’s Admissions Profession Award and the 2008 EOP/AIM Distinguished Advocate Award.
Reflections from Colleagues
“Judy Berhannan is a true legend in the field of college admissions. Dedicated to guiding and advocating for students through the college search process, Judy has served the profession for four decades. Her commitment to Stony Brook University and her immense base of knowledge and history of campus have enabled her to tell an incredible story of what makes our community so unique for students and their families. Judy has served as a mentor to many admissions professionals throughout her tenure, and I am extremely fortunate to have been one of those mentees. What I treasure most about Judy is our friendship. She is sincere, caring, honest and has the utmost of integrity. I look forward to celebrating the next chapter in her journey.”
— Robert Pertusati, Associate Dean of Admissions
“For just under a decade I got to work with Judy. She was a kind and focused leader. I am so grateful to have had her as a confidant and colleague. I learned so much about what kind of leader I wanted to be by working with her. I am so sad to lose her here but so happy to see her move on to leisurely days and amazing trips. She deserves the world.”
— Jacqueline Rowe, Senior Enrollment Communications Coordinator
“The first time I met Judy was in 2009 at an enrollment retreat at Sunwood, which serves as a residence for the President of Stony Brook University. Judy kindly showed me around, and we got to know each other as we were overlooking Long Island Sound. During our conversation and subsequent years, I have learned about Judy’s mentorship of students and her joy of bringing diversity to Stony Brook over the last four decades. I am amazed by her journey. As colleagues, I have learned so much from her and have witnessed the impact she made on young professionals and the community; enjoy your family, love nature and the world.”
— Yu-wan Wang, Associate Dean and Director of International Admissions
“In my 14 years in higher education and undergraduate admissions, I can attest to say that there is truly no one like Judy. As the EOP and NYC Coordinator for the University and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, it has been a true pleasure working with Judy on diversity recruitment and ensuring that minority and first-gen students have access to all the incredible things that SBU has to offer. Her passion is exemplified by the vast number of students and alumni who come back year after year, not only to visit with her and inform her of their incredible successes due in part to her assistance but also to aid us in the recruitment of other students like them to our institution. Judy has an unmatched ability to be able to dream for others; what they did not know was even possible for them. I can only hope to one day share that same hope and wisdom with others to continue her legacy in helping to provide a pathway to greatness for so many potential SBU graduates out there. Her mentorship is unrivaled, and while I am so happy for her to enjoy the next phase of her life, I know she will be greatly missed by me, our office and division, and by all who had the luck of encountering her throughout her years here. She leaves behind a pillar in her absence, and one that will not be forgotten, not only at Stony Brook University, but in the world of admissions as well.”
— Christina Lofaso, Senior Admissions Advisor and EOP/NYC Coordinator
“Judy is a quiet powerhouse of a leader. She has approached many obstacles throughout her career with an unwavering grace and sophistication. She leads from the heart with forgiveness and kindness. We have been so fortunate to have her as our leader for so many years. She has shaped the culture of higher education within our office, university, and across the State of New York. The magnitude of her absence will be felt for years to come.”
— Lauren Sangimino, Assistant Director of Admissions