Associate Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Tamara Herdener to leave UP before 2024-25 school year

Vice President for Student Affairs Father John Donato will ‘develop and share strategies for guiding the Student Affairs Division’ moving forward.

By Julianna Pedone | May 31, 2024 2:12pm
Tamara Herdener, associate vice president for student development and dean of students, poses for a photo. Photo courtesy of Tamara Herdener.

After three years as the Associate Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students, Tamara Herdener is set to depart from the University of Portland on June 28, 2024.

The announcement was made in an email to the UP community from the University's President, Robert Kelly, on May 31. 

According to the email, Father John Donato, the vice president for student affairs, will “develop and share strategies for guiding the Student Affairs Division” moving forward. Associated Students of the University of Portland President, Aidan Sanchez, met with Father John Donato today to discuss next steps, according to an email sent to The Beacon by Sanchez.

“University administration intends to touch base and connect with the directors and leaders within the Division of Student Affairs to figure out the next steps,” Sanchez said. “Students will have a voice in the process of finding a new AVP [Associated Vice President] for Student Development and Dean, what that looks like exactly will be communicated at a later date.” 

Herdener decided to accept a position as the Senior Vice Provost for Academic and Student Affairs at Seattle University to take on new professional challenges.

“This specific position does not exist at the University of Portland,” Herdener said. “So, it was an opportunity for me to grow and develop.”

Although she is excited to pursue her new role, Herdener is extremely grateful for her time on The Bluff and plans to maintain close ties with the UP community.

“I’m hoping to come back to the University of Portland and attend soccer and basketball games,” Herdener said. “The University of Portland just has something very magical about it.”

Tamara Herdener poses with staff members for a photo while waving a UP banner. Photo courtesy of Tamara Herdener.

Since joining campus in 2021, Herdener has been involved in several initiatives and aspects of student life such as Residence Life, Student Activities, the Student Health Center, the President’s Leadership Cabinet, the opening of the Gender and Sexuality center and more.

However, her favorite part of working at UP has been engaging with the students.

“My favorite work at the University of Portland was when I had the absolute honor and privilege to co-create with students,” Herdener said. “When students wanted things to happen, I was able to advise them, uplift them, empower them and connect them with who and what they needed for those things to happen.”

Despite leaving her administrative role at the University of Portland, Herdener is encouraging students to stay in touch with her.

“If any students want to have coffee or ask questions, they can reach out to me through my UP email or LinkedIn,” Herdener said. “...It’s really been an honor to contribute to the growth of UP alongside dedicated staff, and I look forward to lifelong friendships and connections from my time on The Bluff.”

A farewell gathering for Herdener will be held on Thursday, June 13, at 3:30 p.m. at the Pilot House.

Julianna Pedone is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at