30 Mar

A conversation with Evelyn Gard, Associate Dean of Communications and Marketing

A conversation with Evelyn Gard, Associate Dean of Communications and Marketing

Evie Gard entered Santa Monica College as a young mother with three children. Like many of our Housatonic students, she would work and take care of her children during the day and take classes at night. Evie’s dedication to her education allowed her to transfer to Mount St. Mary’s University where she earned her B.A. in liberal arts.

She was working at a Catholic school when Los Angeles erupted in anger at the acquittal of four policemen in the beating of Rodney King. As fearful teachers no longer wanted to work in inner-city L.A., Evie accepted a position teaching middle school. She also continued her education, earning a Master’s in Education at Loyola Marymount University.

With experience and advanced education, Evie was recruited for teaching positions at both public and private schools, but when an advisor position opened up at Mount St. Mary’s University, she took the leap to working in higher education.

“I was focused on adult leaners and was their ‘town and gown’ representative, educating people about the college. At the same time, I was also assisting with marketing efforts, and my skills were being recognized. I was eventually asked to take on the role of Marketing Manager,” said Evie.

In February of 2001, Evie joined the Gateway team as Director of Public Relations and Marketing. At the time, Gateway had a small campus in the waterfront district of Long Wharf in New Haven, but there were big plans to build a new campus which eventually found a home in the current location.

“The goal was to put Gateway on the map and to raise enrollment. I had a proven track record and personal experience as a community college student, and then President Dorsey Kendrick relied upon my expertise,” she said.

When HCC President Paul Broadie took on the additional role of running Gateway, Evie was requested to also manage the marketing team at HCC in a shared services model. The model was so successful, that it expanded to include the full Shoreline-West region which will soon be replicated for the new CT State Community College.

After 21 years of working in the CSCU system, Evie retired on April 1. Looking back on her career here, she has much of which to be proud.

“I’m really proud of what we created, including the partnerships formed with the media that have benefitted our colleges. They understood our mission and our budget constraints and looked out for us,” she said.

Evie continued, “I’m also proud of the students who we mentored. I believe in supporting each other, and that professionals should reach back and help advance the next generation.”

Over the years, Evie has won awards, nurtured her love of singing and theater, and notably rebuilt the Greater Connecticut chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. However, she feels her greatest professional achievement was doing her best by our institutions.

“We accomplished a lot and I’ve been honored to do this work. I always cared about giving my all to the colleges, making sure that they had what they needed. In the transition to one college, I want to encourage my colleagues to trust the journey. Everything is going to be okay as long as we stay focused on the students,” she said.

In her next chapter Evie is looking forward to working on projects in the areas of singing and theater, writing, and marketing consulting. After experiencing trauma with a family member living through COVID, Evie now can fully commit to living in the moment.