The Division of Student Development consists of a dedicated staff of professionals who are committed to student development, well-being, and success. Our work is student-centered and guided by our Jesuit Catholic identity and the College’s mission. The division consists of nine departments that work collaboratively to deliver an exceptional and formative out-of-classroom student experience. The departments report to the senior leadership team below.
Michele C. Murray, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President for Student Development and Mission
Dean of Students
Dr. Michele Murray provides leadership for integrating students’ intellectual, spiritual, and emotional development, delivering excellent services and programs for all students, and translating the College’s vibrant Jesuit Catholic mission for today’s audience. Dr. Murray has served on several executive boards, including as current president of the Jesuit Association for Student Personnel Administrators. She co-authored Helping College Students Find Purpose: The Campus Guide to Meaning Making,and also Teaching College Students Communication Strategies for Effective Social Justice Advocacy, and numerous chapters and articles about Ignatian spirituality and meaning-making. Dr. Murray has dedicated her professional life to Jesuit higher education, with previous roles at Seattle University and Loyola Maryland.
Phone: (508) 793-2414
Charles N. Todd, PhD
Associate Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students
Paul A. Irish
Associate Dean of Students
Paul Irish oversees the Offices of Residence Life and Housing, the Office of Student Integrity and Community Standards and chairs the Student CARE team. Dean Irish provides support and guidance to students to assist in their success in and out of the classroom. He has been actively engaged in the work of advising and assisting college students since 1990, and has served in a number of roles at Holy Cross, representing the Division of Student Development in various capacities.
Michelle Bata, Ph.D
Associate Dean for Student Engagement
Dr. Michelle Bata is responsible for ensuring a vibrant campus life, building collaborative programs with academic affairs, and divisional assessment. Prior to working in student affairs, Dr. Bata taught sociology and served in several administrative posts in academic affairs at both Fordham University and Clark University. All of her professional positions have allowed her to think deeply about the student experience and student learning, and as a result she is broadly interested in the factors that shape student outcomes. Michelle received her Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from the University of Arizona, and her A.B. in sociology from Boston College.
Neal E. Lipsitz, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Student Wellbeing and Director of Student Accessibility Services
Dr. Neal Lipsitz oversees Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Services, Student Wellness Education, and Student Accessibility Services. He also teaches a Montserrat seminar on Positive Psychology. Dr. Lipsitz is a licensed psychologist and has been working in higher education for 35 years. He presents at local and national conferences on many aspects of service provision to students with disabilities. He is co-editor of: Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Inclusive Policy and Practice for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education (2014) and has published a number of articles. He truly enjoys helping Holy Cross students flourish within the context of such a supportive and nurturing environment.
Cathleen Doane Cannon
Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Student Development/Director of Parent and Family Engagement
As Special Assistant to Dean Michele Murray, Cathleen Doane Cannon’s work focuses on a variety of divisional and College projects including Commencement, online educational courses, and strategic planning. Her previous work at Holy Cross built a strong foundation and allowed her in 2022 to launch the division’s newest department, the Office of Parent and Family Engagement. Having spent the entirety of her professional career at Holy Cross, Cathleen continues to be drawn to the community and inspired by its mission and Jesuit Catholic tradition and the way it frames her work. She enjoys partnering with families and colleagues to think about how to best empower and support students as they navigate their emerging adulthood and more deeply discover who they are, who they want to become, and who they will be for others.