Syracuse University Magazine

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Kay Devesty

Pride of Place

When Kaye DeVesty took a job at Syracuse University in the Bursar’s Office a year out of college, she never imagined that 36 years later she would retire as director of financial aid in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs. “I used to look at people who worked at SU for years and years and wonder how they could stay at one place for so long,” says DeVesty, who graduated from SUNY Brockport in 1976 with a degree in history and political science. “Now I know it’s because this campus has so much to offer. Over the years I’ve had opportunities to see Chief Justice John Roberts, President Bill Clinton, and the Dalai Lama, attend art exhibitions, and concerts by famous musicians, and, of course, cheer on the Orange at many football and basketball games at the Dome.”

A Syracuse native, DeVesty would have loved to attend the University on the Hill, but as one of eight children, it was financially beyond her reach. Ironically, during her lengthy tenure in the financial aid office, she has helped thousands of young people earn degrees from SU. “I worked with families to put together financial aid packages that help students meet the cost of their SU education and walked them through exactly what they needed to do to pay their bills for all four years,” says DeVesty, whose son graduated from the University in 2006, giving her insight into the college experience from a parent’s point of view. “The financial aid application process is far more complex than in the past, and keeping up with ever-changing federal regulations was challenging. But it has all been worthwhile and especially rewarding when you hear from students who have worked hard and earned their degrees.”

DeVesty—who officially retired on July 15—has replaced reviewing student aid applications and responding to inquiries from anxious students and parents with taming the wild places in her garden, catching up on reading, and taking long walks and bike rides with her husband. Eventually she expects to volunteer at the Onondaga Historical Association and attend lectures at the Susan B. Anthony House near Rochester. “I think I miss my staff the most,” DeVesty says. “They are committed and smart and know what to do and they do it. The University needs hardworking creative people because there’s always some new initiative around the corner.”

Not quite ready to put SU behind her, DeVesty will return to campus on a part-time basis in the fall to help Ryan Williams, associate vice president for enrollment management in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs, get a few special projects off the ground. “Kaye not only has an incredible grasp of financial aid policies and procedures, but she also understands other areas of the University, and that gives her a solid grounding and connectivity,” Williams says. “And it’s not just about process. Kaye understands the history and rationale for our policies and procedures. Her wealth of knowledge is invaluable.”       —Christine Yackel



Photo by John Dowling