Director of Human Resources (HR) Richard Ledwin will step down from his post next week after nearly 11 years at Occidental, according to a Nov. 13 email to faculty, staff and administrators. He is leaving the school to take up a similar position at the Children’s Bureau, a non-profit organization that offers foster care and adoption services for at-risk children.
Senior Associate Director of Human Resources Jacie Fiegelman, who has worked at the college for 34 years, will serve as interim director of HR in Ledwin’s absence. According to Ledwin, she has been his “right hand woman” since the beginning of his time at Occidental.
Ledwin joined the Occidental community in 2003 and currently oversees employment, employee benefits and relations, the HR information system, student work-study awards and the school’s Child Development Center.
During his 11-year stint at the college, Ledwin developed close ties with other employees on his team, particularly within his department. He said that he and his colleagues would often provide each other support in both professional and personal matters.
“I have never worked with such a tight group of HR professionals,” Ledwin said. “You know the strength of your department when times are tough and everyone pitches in to help get through it.”
According to Ledwin, saying goodbye to his team, which he calls his work family, will be the toughest part about leaving the college. He will also miss the larger Occidental community, which he said has been consistently supportive, particularly during the birth of his twins. President Jonathan Veitch and his wife Sarah hosted a baby shower for Ledwin at the Annenburg President’s House, and when there were complications during birth, he received messages of support from every corner of campus.
“We talk about community all the time here on campus, but it’s true,” Ledwin said. “When you come from other places, you see it and you feel it.”
After the birth of his own children, Ledwin developed a passion for children’s issues. He frequently participates in school fundraisers and was an assistant coach for youth soccer teams. This interest motivated him to accept a position at the Children’s Bureau as head of HR. The organization partners with local, state and federal agencies to provide adoption and foster care services and prevent child abuse, according to its website. Ledwin will start his job there Dec. 8.
Ledwin’s supervisor, Vice President of Finance and Planning Amos Himmelstein, said that the hiring process for a permanent replacement will begin once they develop a search plan. Himmelstein has not yet determined what qualities he is looking for in a replacement, but Ledwin had his own advice for future candidates.
“People are at Oxy because they want to be and truly care about the institution and its students,” Ledwin said. “Don’t forget to treat all people with dignity and respect, even when discussions are hard.”