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Katherine Gottschalk, assistant dean for financial aid, retires from the Law School.

Michigan Law's Assistant Dean for Financial Aid Retires

By Lori Atherton
Nov. 18, 2013

Katherine Gottschalk, Michigan Law's longtime assistant dean for financial aid, is retiring from the Law School after nearly 30 years of service. Her last day was Nov. 18.

Dean Gottschalk's contributions to the Law School were recognized at an afternoon reception Monday, during which current and former colleagues gathered to express their appreciation and well wishes.

Among those offering remarks was David Baum, '89, assistant dean for student affairs, who shared fun facts about Dean Gottschalk—she has a twin and was born and raised in Mexico—along with the attributes that have made her such a beloved figure at the Law School.

"Katherine is universally loved by students at Michigan Law," he said, citing her positive and upbeat manner and willingness to help students understand the complexities of the financial aid process. "Whenever help was needed with a financial aid problem and I sent students her way, I knew they were going to get what they needed."

Dean Mark West, in highlighting Dean Gottschalk's commitment to the Law School, read a portion of an email from an admitted student: "Dean Gottschalk is quite possibly the best financial aid officer on the planet," he read. "She was kind, personal, and went out of her way to do extra research on outside ways to reduce the cost of attendance at Michigan. Dean Gottschalk exemplified why Michigan truly is a special school."

Sarah Zearfoss, '92, senior assistant dean for admissions, financial aid, and career planning, has worked with Dean Gottschalk for the past 12 years and received financial aid counseling from her when she was a student at Michigan Law.

"Every year I hear from incoming students that when they were in distress or having anxiety about the prospect of financing their legal education, Katherine was a patient and understanding voice of compassion, who helped them manage and navigate the many competing considerations," she said. "And she combines these skills with a truly formidable expertise in the thorny ins and outs of federal financial regulations. The combination of such different strengths is rare indeed, and the Law School is lucky indeed to have benefited from her dedication for so long."

A graduate of Wellesley College, Dean Gottschalk began her career at Michigan Law in November 1984 as an academic services clerk. She became director of financial aid in 1989 and was named assistant dean in 2001. Lindsey Stetson, assistant director of admissions, will become acting director of financial aid when she returns from maternity leave in January.

An avid knitter, Dean Gottschalk said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family during retirement: husband Paul; children Arianna, Ian, and Elizabeth; and five-month-old granddaughter, Nova. She thanked those in attendance for their support and friendship, especially her immediate staff—Vicki Abbott and Kathy Johnson—whom she called "the greatest staff in the history of time."

"It's been an incredible ride here," she said. "Thanks for everything over the last 30 years."

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