New Staff Professional Development Fund Established to Honor Marsteller’s Legacy
Long before she became Ursinus College’s first female president, Jill Leauber Marsteller ’78, P’18 had been known to her beloved Bear community as a trusted friend, mentor, and colleague. And no matter where her career has taken her, she has always inspired greatness from her staff by supporting their own professional development and personal fulfillment.
To honor her longstanding legacy at Ursinus and her widespread contributions to higher education, Marsteller’s colleagues, students, collaborators, family, and friends have come together to establish a professional development fund in her name that will be instrumental in ensuring that Ursinus staff have more opportunities to grow and develop their careers.
The Jill Leauber Marsteller ’78, P’18 Staff Professional Development Fund will offer expense reimbursements for travel and fees associated with conferences and/or learning opportunities or programs, while also providing support for staff-focused professional development initiatives led by the human resources office.
For anyone interested in contributing to the fund in Jill’s honor, please do so at this link.
“When you ask anybody who has worked or collaborated with Jill Marsteller what is special about her, two things are top of mind,” said Interim Vice President for Advancement Mark Gadson. “One is leadership. Jill leads by example—she sets the bar high, works harder than anyone else I know, and manages for results.”
“The second is caring for the people around her,” Gadson continued. “She firmly believes that you must help mentor and guide your fellow colleagues in order to create a positive and happy environment in which to work. Her belief and support for staff professional development has been proven by the longevity of the employees on the teams she has managed and their individual successes. This is why the Marsteller Staff Professional Development Fund is such an appropriate tribute to Jill and her extraordinary legacy, not only at Ursinus but at all the other institutions she has touched in such profound and positive ways.”
After graduating from Ursinus in 1978, Jill served the college as an adjunct English instructor and college relations staff member before moving on to offer visionary leadership to several institutions in the Greater Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley regions. She returned to Ursinus in 2009 as senior vice president for advancement, where she recently led the college’s largest and most ambitious comprehensive campaign, Keep the Promise, which raised more than $107 million.
In September 2021, during a time of both transition and recovery in the wake of a global pandemic, Marsteller was selected to lead the college as its first female president and 18th president overall, shepherding the beginning of the next strategic plan, Every Student’s Success.
But also top of mind for Marsteller was the health and wellness of every employee, especially given the disruptive nature of COVID-19 and the toll it took on employees nationwide. Under Marsteller’s guidance, Ursinus launched the U-Matter initiative, which provides greater resources for faculty and staff wellbeing.
“Jill launched the U-Matter initiative to support our faculty and staff at all levels and classifications,” Associate Vice President of Human Resources Kelley Williams said. “She spent many hours with the senior leadership team to discuss and implement initiatives that support our employees and provide them more support and a better work/life balance. The Marsteller Staff Professional Development Fund will complement the HR strategic and operating plan, which includes a professional development platform for staff.”
Williams noted that professional development is another key component of U-Matter and the Human Resources strategic and operating plan as well as the professional development committee of Staff Assembly. The Marsteller Fund will enable Ursinus staff members to take advantage of even more opportunities to enhance their careers through the acquisition of new knowledge that leads to skill development.
“This new fund embodies the commitment Jill has in lifelong learning,” said Trustee Peg Williams ’80, who, along with Trustee Carl Buck ’84, P’22, was instrumental in leading the conceptualization of the fund. “As she moves on to the next chapter of her life, it was important that we honor her legacy. I have been always impressed with her professionalism, enthusiasm, and dedication to ‘all things Ursinus.’”
Buck added, “Staff keep the wheels turning and the lights on. No one understands that better than Jill, and she’s always been someone to ask, ‘How can I better myself?’ She is a passionate advocate for staff and always has their professional development in mind to set them up for their own success. She’s a mentor in that way and has been a mentor to many individuals throughout her career, especially to those at Ursinus.”
Marsteller will retire on June 30, 2022. On Wednesday, June 1, members of the Ursinus community gathered on campus for a special Cape May, N.J., themed reception in her honor, which included remarks from colleagues past and present. At the college’s 149th commencement ceremony on May 14, a special citation recognizing her years of service was presented to her by her classmate Nina B. Stryker ’78, P’19, who served as interim board chair this academic year.
“Jill, you have been a guiding force for Ursinus not only over the past year, but over more than two decades of dedicated service to your beloved alma mater,” Stryker said during commencement. “You lead with grace, you have been a mentor to many, and you are the true definition of a Bear for Life.”