Harold McNaron, director of Student Leadership and Service (SLS), is leaving Lewis & Clark after nearly eight years serving under the Division of Student Life.
McNaron will take a position at Portland State University (PSU). There, he will join PSU’s Office of Academic Innovation in a new post that aims to implement community-based learning through faculty engagement and academic integration.
In 2011, McNaron came to Portland from Atlanta, enrolling at PSU and later earning a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy. He then spent seven months in Ellensburg, Washington, as director of Central Washington University’s Center for Leadership & Community Engagement. In 2013, after significant reforms to LC’s now defunct Center for Career and Community Engagement, McNaron returned to Portland to lead the newly created SLS office. Since then, he has played an instrumental role in building SLS, advising ASLC and participating in numerous campus organizations, task forces and committees.
Through email, McNaron explained his passion for community and how it impacted his career path.
“Community is a core value of mine — loving community that generates growth for individuals and groups of folks,” McNaron said. “It’s in the micro-community of my family and the slightly-larger community of church where I began to learn about leadership and practice service.”
At LC, McNaron harnessed his desire to build community and his love for visual arts and music to promote racial, social and economic justice.
“In my work at Lewis & Clark I’ve attempted to utilize that creativity in pursuing justice within a caring community,” McNaron said. “And, of course, I get to do all of this work collaboratively with college students who’ve dedicated four years of their lives to learning and growth. What a special thing!”
Since 2013, McNaron has also served as the advisor to the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC). In an email statement, ASLC President Mikah Bertelmann ’21 expressed his appreciation for McNaron’s service. ASLC will soon release a more detailed statement on McNaron’s departure.
“While we will miss Harold’s leadership, guidance, and insight, we wish him the best in his future endeavors and know that he will do great things at PSU,” Bertelmann said.
McNaron served in roles with the Division of Student Life as a member of the Lead the Change Committee and the office’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. He was also a facilitator and participant in Student Life’s Intergroup Dialogue series, an eight-week professional development program that “seeks to engage staff/faculty in building a more socially just and inclusive community through sustained and meaningful dialogue.”
In an email statement, President Wim Wiewel recognized McNaron’s work in co-chairing the Portland Connections Council, one of several administrative committees composed of faculty, staff and student representatives.
“I do want to spotlight and commend Harold’s recent work alongside Professor Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell in building Lewis & Clark’s Portland Connections Council, which will continue its good efforts,” Wiewel said.
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Robin Holmes-Sullivan commended McNaron’s leadership.
“Harold has placed students and racial and social justice at the center of his work and service to the college,” Holmes-Sullivan said via email. “In the Office of Student Leadership and Service, Harold offered a strong focus on sustained service learning through relationships with the community partners that was impactful for all stakeholders.”
During his time at LC, McNaron was proud to help organize the Interns for Racial Justice program, which begins this summer. Participants will earn a stipend while working with and learning from BIPOC groups. Another highlight of his tenure as SLS director was leading alternative spring break trips to Atlanta. These trips offered LC students an opportunity to explore and understand social justice issues through various projects.
“Creating and running the alternative spring break trip to Atlanta was pretty amazing,” McNaron said. “It’s my hometown, and it’s so full of liberatory love. It was a joy to share that with Lewis & Clark students.”
According to Holmes-Sullivan, there is not yet a plan to replace McNaron with a new SLS director.
“It is too soon for me to know exactly what we will do moving forward with this position and its responsibilities,” Holmes-Sullivan said. “I am consulting with the Student Life leadership team to discuss options and strategies over the next few weeks.”
McNaron’s last day at LC will be Feb. 23. Any community members with ideas about McNaron’s successor or the future of SLS are encouraged to communicate with SLS Graduate Assistant Delfine DeFrank.