Dean of Students Christine Griffith to retire August 31

Christine Griffith, associate vice provost and dean of students, is retiring after nearly 38 years at Stanford. Griffith, who originally joined Stanford as an office manager in Escondido Village, is credited with developing the university’s first Graduate Life Office.

Christine Griffith, associate vice provost for student affairs and dean of students, will retire from Stanford Aug. 31 after nearly 38 years on the Farm.

During her tenure at Stanford, Griffith earned a reputation for calmness during crises, compassion toward students and colleagues, humility and a sense of service.

“Chris has been an inspiration to all of us for the deeply caring approach she takes to all her work with students and colleagues,” said Susie Brubaker-Cole, vice provost for student affairs.

Christine Griffith at the Dean of Students Office

Christine Griffith, associate vice provost and dean of students, originally joined Stanford in 1980 as an office manager in Escondido Village. (Image credit: Kate Chesley)

“She embodies the highest qualities of humility, service and unflappable good sense in everything she does,” Brubaker-Cole said. “While I have only had the privilege of working with her for seven months, I’ve heard so many accounts of how she’s helped students find solutions to very complex life circumstances. She will be so greatly missed and so dearly remembered as a stellar colleague.”

As her proudest accomplishment, Griffith cited the development of the university’s first Graduate Life Office in 1998. In her role as director of that office, she championed new graduate student housing and improvements in graduate student health care.

Griffith came to Stanford in 1980 as an office manager in Escondido Village. She was promoted to program director for single graduate students in 1985, became assistant director of graduate residences in 1988 and director of graduate residences in 1992. She was named associate dean of graduate student life in 1999.

Cuthbertson Award

Chris Griffith received the Cuthbertson Award for Exceptional Service from former Provost John Etchemendy in 2007. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Griffith was named associate vice provost and dean of students in 2007 after serving as acting dean of students from 2003 to 2004 during a period of transition. She also oversaw the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band from 2006 to 2007 when the organization was on a provisional status.

She has served on numerous campus-wide committees, including the Threat Assessment Team, which evaluates the behaviors of individuals on campus who might pose a danger to themselves and others. She currently serves as co-chair of the Mental Health and Well Being Advisory Board.

Greg Boardman, who retired in September as vice provost for student affairs after leading the division for more than a decade, said he admired Griffith’s “innate ability to support our students and families, especially in their most dire of circumstances. Chris fully exemplifies the qualities of empathy, kindness, compassion, humility and integrity.”

Griffith’s service to the university has garnered awards. In 2003, she received the Margaret Ann Fidler Award for Distinguished Service in Student Affairs. In 2007, she was honored with a Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for Exceptional Contributions to Stanford University. Griffith also is a recipient of a 1997 Amy J. Blue Award. For the past 16 years, she has served as chair of the Amy J. Blue Committee, which chooses each year’s winners.

When she was honored in 2016 as part of the Celebrating Staff Careers and Multicultural Springfest events, she told Cardinal@Work that she was inspired by Stanford’s “sense of community, that we’re all engaged in a common endeavor, and that it takes people at all levels and with a diverse set of skills to make this place run every day.”

Her advice to new employees: “Find the work that lets you live your values every day.”

In an email to Student Affairs staff announcing her retirement, Griffith called it a privilege to have worked at Stanford.

“I’m amazed every day at just how much can be accomplished when good people come together to achieve common goals,” she wrote.

“I’m grateful for you, my Student Affairs colleagues. Together, we’ve carried on the tradition of teaching, caring and leading in our community. It is this shared endeavor, in support of our students, that I treasure most about my time at Stanford.”

Griffith plans to move to the Reno-Tahoe area to be closer to her son and his family.