Melissa Flowers accepts position at Brown University


Melissa Flowers is currently in her 10th year at Trinity. She will relocate to Providence, Rhode Island after this semester to take on the position of senior director of residential education and operations and assistant dean at Brown University. Photo by Chloe Sonnier

Melissa Flowers, director of Residential Life, has accepted a position at Brown University. Starting in January 2018, Flowers will serve as senior director of residential education and operations and assistant dean at the Ivy League school.

During her time at Trinity, Flowers accomplished many initiatives with Residential Life, including the sophomore college initiative, the implementation of HOPE Hall, the Game of Life financial literacy initiative, the acquisition of City Vista and more.

Flowers is currently in her 10th year of working at Trinity. She began working as a residential life coordinator in 2008, was promoted to assistant director for residential education in 2010 and took over as director in 2015. Flowers expressed her love for the Trinity community and her feelings about leaving Trinity.

“The students are amazing. I’m going to miss the students, the staff, the faculty, immensely. I absolutely love this community. My husband went to Trinity “” he graduated in 2004 “” so we have a special connection,” Flowers said. “I was not looking for a position “” Brown called me, and this was probably the single hardest decision I’ve had to make in my entire life.”

Flowers has come to think of Trinity like a home and plans to visit in the future.

“Trinity has been great to me and great to my family,” Flowers said. “I’m really excited to come back in the context of being the spouse of an alum as opposed to working here. To the Trinity community, thanks for helping me progress my career. These have been such formative years in my professional career so I am so thankful to the students, staff and faculty who have supported me through that.”

However, Flowers also expressed her excitement about the upcoming opportunity to work at Brown.

“I’m originally from New York, so it’s a great opportunity for my family to be closer to my mother who is still there,” Flowers said. “I have two small children, so for them to be closer to their other grandmother is going to be great.”

Flowers also expressed the excitement that she feels about being able to work at an Ivy League school.

“Working at the Ivy Leagues is going to be very exciting for me, I’ve never done that, and I didn’t attend an Ivy League, so that’s a brand new challenge,” Flowers said. “It’s a larger institution “” they have about 8,000 students. Also, it’s a three-year residency requirement, so larger campus, larger department and new, different responsibilities.”

Nathan Tuttle, residential life coordinator, has known Flowers for a long time and worked with her professionally for a year. He had mixed feelings when he heard that Flowers was going to be moving to Brown.

“I was excited for her but sad for us,” Nathan Tuttle said. “It’s an amazing opportunity, and it’s exciting for her, but I think it’s even more exciting for Brown that they get her. She’s been a great leader of our department and I’ve enjoyed having her guidance and her leadership and her wisdom.”

Nathan Tuttle spoke about his appreciation for Flowers’ assistance in the workplace.

“She’s incredibly humble; she’s done so much for Trinity and for Residential Life, but you’re not going to hear her talking about it or getting credit for it,” Nathan Tuttle said. “But if you look at the list of things she’s accomplished while she’s been here, it’s really impressive. We deal with tough situations and I always feel comfortable going to Flowers and asking her counsel and advice on things. She’s been here for so long so she’s got great context and insight on things that I’m experiencing for the first time.”

Nathan Tuttle hopes that Flowers is able to find a supportive community and Brown and believes that she will accomplish great work there.

“[Flowers] is so dedicated and loyal to Trinity, and I think she really appreciates the community here. She talks about loving the people that she works with, loving our students and really feeling like this is a family. So I hope that she finds that at Brown, and I think that she’ll be able to take a really fresh perspective to their housing and residential life offices,” Nathan Tuttle said. “She has a knack for looking at things in new and different ways and is always looking to improve things and change things. I think that she’ll bring fresh eyes to their program and be able to do amazing things for them.”

David Tuttle, dean of students, hired Flowers when she first came to Trinity. He has worked with her for her entire time at the university.

“I hope she really regrets leaving us,” David Tuttle joked. “I think Trinity is a hard place to leave because of all the qualities that we know that this institution has the quality faculty, the students, the grounds, the buildings, the community, the atmosphere, and so my hope for her is that her experience at Brown is as positive as I think her experience here has been and that it’s an institution that she feels like is one that puts students as its priority.”

David Tuttle expressed his wish that the faculty and staff at Brown appreciate her efficiency and diligence as an employee.

“I hope she has good colleagues that get her and appreciate her and that can have fun with her and that can learn from her,” David Tuttle said. “I hope it’s an enriching experience and one that she feels becomes a new home for her.”

David Tuttle highlighted some of the best parts about working with Flowers and many of the things that she accomplished during her time at Trinity.

“One of the things I like about [Flowers] is that she and I can disagree about things and discuss things without getting mad at each other,” David Tuttle said. “We can have conflict, but we can walk away from it. Whenever that’s happening it’s always because we can focus on what’s best for the staff or the students. That’s a really valuable thing to have in a colleague and I’ll miss that.”

David Tuttle also pointed out some of Flowers’s concrete accomplishments during her time at Trinity.

“Her strength has been her high-level thinking and her ability to see things with vision and her ability to take a vision and implement it and put something into motion,” David Tuttle said. “Things like the Game of Life, which received a national award, work that she has done with others on StrengthsQuest or 1869 Scholars. … A lot of the projects that she does, they turn to gold. That’s something that we will miss and that will create a void. Having that kind of quality at that level is a pretty special thing to have.”

Rachel Boaz, assistant director for residential education, has known Flowers since she was a sophomore attending Trinity until she graduated in 2008, and then began working with her professionally in 2013.

“[Flowers] will be missed,” Boaz wrote in an email interview. “I hope she finds a fresh, new challenge. [Flowers] isn’t just a hard worker herself, she knows how to motivate those around her to realize their fullest potential as well.”