After 25 years at the University, Nicole Eramo, chief of staff and assistant vice president for student affairs, has left the University to take on the role of Chief of Staff to President Nicole Hurd at Lafayette College. During her long career in the Division of Student Affairs, Eramo aimed to foster a meaningful student experience both in and out of the classroom.
“I have had amazing colleagues and opportunities to work with amazing people, including the students that I've been able to work with,” Eramo said. “It's just been a real privilege.”
A triple Hoo, Eramo came to the University as an undergraduate transfer student and graduated with a bachelors in the Political and Social Thought program. She received her masters and doctorate degrees from the School of Education and Human Development at the University — while completing her upper-level degrees, Eramo began working with the Honor Committee.
She stayed in Charlottesville after she graduated and accepted a position in the Division of Student Affairs, which oversees all University-wide initiatives and facilitates student organizations and resource services. In addition to her current position, Eramo has held the title of Assistant Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Students.
Eramo said that she stayed with Student Affairs for so many years because of the opportunities her position provided to form connections with students and promote self-governance.
“I’ve always appreciated the ability to be a support [system] and almost colleague with students versus imposing things on students,” Eramo said. “That's always been a really great opportunity that you have working in Student Affairs at U.Va. that you may not have at other places in the same way.”
Eramo has extensive experience supporting students, especially those going through difficult times. Serving on the University’s Sexual Misconduct Board and the Board of Directors at the Sexual Assault Resource Agency in Charlottesville, Eramo specialized in aiding victims of gender-based violence.
During her time as Associate Dean, she often aided in crisis management for students and was the primary contact for all reports of sexual assault at the University.
“I think some of the most rewarding work I've had is sitting with students in some of their darkest moments and being able to provide support and assistance to them and helping them feel valued,” Eramo said.
In 2014, Eramo was swept up in the now-retracted Rolling Stone article which falsely detailed a female student’s rape by a U.Va. fraternity and criticized University administrators, including Eramo, in their responses to the rape.
The article was retracted in 2015 after investigations found that most of the story had been concocted — at that point, Eramo had left her position as Associate Dean and begun working with the Office of the Vice President. In 2016, Eramo won a defamation case against the magazine.
Eramo has remained in the Office of the Vice President since 2016 and continued her work in helping survivors of sexual assault as president of SARA’s Board of Directors. Reflecting upon the responsibility of working directly with students, Eramo said she has developed valuable skills of collaboration and coordination between different groups of people and departments.
“I've learned a tremendous amount about the work of higher education and from a lot of different angles,” Eramo said. “And I think you get to see that on the ground in Student Affairs in ways you might not see in other offices just because students are touched by every part of the university.”
Eramo said she will keep a home base in Charlottesville with her family and hopes to remain involved in SARA.
In an email sent to colleagues, Dean of Students Robyn Hadley said that during her time working closely with Eramo, she especially admired her efforts to advocate for students.
“This is an exceptional opportunity for Nicole, one that builds on her talents and experience as a higher education leader, but it is truly a loss for U.Va. and the Division of Student Affairs,” Hadley wrote.
Eramo hopes to take her skills to her next role working in the President’s Office at Lafayette. She looks forward to sharing her experience with President Nicole Hurd’s new team there as they build and develop new ways to support and improve student’s education.
“I'm excited to be able to be in a kind of a leadership position but also be connected to students,” Eramo said. “Since it's a smaller environment you can kind of do both in a way that's harder to do at a place as big as U.Va.”
Despite her anticipation for her new role, Eramo said that she will miss the people at U.Va. and the connections with students and staff she fostered over the last 25 years.
“It was a hard decision to leave because I feel like I learned from my students and colleagues every day and I continue to, to the very end,” Eramo said.