Longtime Muhlenberg staff members prepare for departure

Taking the time to honor two distinct members of the Muhlenberg family: Associate Dean of Students Steve Dutton and Dean of the the Muhlenberg College School of Continuing Studies Jane Hudak.

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When reflecting back on her career as dean of the Muhlenberg College School of Continuing Studies, Jane Hudak recalls many fond memories. During the summer of 2019, she hosted a group of entrepreneurs from Bahrain, showing them the ins and outs of American innovation and entrepreneurship. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she helped Lehigh Valley college students who were displaced from their schools in Louisiana.

But the one thing that she loved the most about her job, she says, is helping adult learners achieve their dreams. “I just live for other people,” Hudak says. 

As an adult learner herself, Hudak knows that doors can be opened just by having a degree. “I was the first person in my family to go to college. Having a degree can make a world of a difference for both yourself and your family.” She received her undergraduate degree in political science from Kutztown University, graduating in 1991. While she was completing her master’s at the same institution, she began working at Muhlenberg as an academic advisor in the summer of 1998. Shortly after, she was promoted to assistant dean of the Wescoe School in June 2000. She started as the full-time dean in May 2007. 

According to Hudak, it wasn’t just the idea of working in the realm of higher education that was appealing to her. She feels a certain connection toward adult learners, and, as dean of the Muhlenberg College School of Continuing Studies, she sought to help them achieve their educational and career aspirations. “When you come back as an adult student, you really are serious. Seeing people realize their dream, then going out and doing it, is the best. It helps me grow.” 

During her tenure at Muhlenberg, she advised the Continuing Studies students, oversaw curriculum development, and connected adult learners to internships, jobs and graduate programs. She also oversaw Muhlenberg’s summer study program, which allows traditionally college aged and adult students to come back and take an in-person or virtual class over summer break. Even after students have graduated, she still aims to keep in touch with them, supporting them as they enter the working world. 

Hudak’s retirement date is set for June 30, 2022. Although she will miss working at Muhlenberg dearly, she still intends to be a part of the community. “My husband graduated from here, my son is a senior here. Muhlenberg is very much a part of our family, and it will always be.” 

“My husband graduated from here, my son is a senior here. Muhlenberg is very much a part of our family, and it will always be.”

Much like Jane Hudak, Steve Dutton is a family-oriented person. Although he is very proud of his accomplishments as assistant dean of students and director of student transitions, his favorite job is being a father—the “best job of all time.” When he started at the student affairs office in 2017, his daughter Lila was a baby. Since then, he has proudly watched both her and his son Teddy grow up on Muhlenberg’s campus. 

“My wife and I would walk around campus with them on the weekends. They would ride their bikes up and down Academic Row. Muhlenberg has been synonymous with the growth of my family,” Dutton says.  

Since November 2019, Dutton’s official title has been assistant dean of students and director of student transitions. In collaboration with the Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Engagement, Dutton has overseen every facet of a Muhlenberg student’s orientation experience and their transition beyond their first-year. 

One of his biggest responsibilities was overseeing the College’s orientation program, which provides a fun-filled and enriching weekend for all first-year and transfer students just before each new semester. Dutton made sure that the entire process ran smoothly—from the hiring and onboarding of student orientation leaders, to communicating with incoming students, to ensuring that the weekend’s events happened seamlessly. 

“I remember everyone just coming together because they understood how important orientation was”

In August 2020, with cases of COVID-19 still on the rise, the weekend changed drastically and a switch to a virtual format was necessary—Dutton and his staff did not miss a beat. That, he says, is his proudest moment. “I remember everyone just coming together because they understood how important orientation was,” he says. “That’s testament to how great of a place this is.” 

Dutton will be working for ZoomInfo, (not to be confused with ZOOM) a database of businesses (and businesspeople) designed specifically for marketing, recruitment and other business professionals. He will serve as the company’s customer onboarding manager, which, according to Dutton, is “like being an orientation leader for adults. Minus the polo!” Dutton’s last day is Feb. 25. 

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