Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett discusses his role at Quinnipiac


Casey Wiederhold

Quinnipiac University Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett sits down with student media on Monday to define his responsibilities and discuss his choice to live on campus.

Cat Murphy, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett addressed questions and concerns about his role at the institution during a 30-minute sit-down interview with student media on Monday.

Ellett separated his title as the chief experience officer into two roles: the administrator and the student advocate.

The administrative side of his title, he said, requires him to engage with university processes that operate beyond the limits of the classroom.

The CXO oversees the One Stop Office, for instance, which handles various financial aid, class registration and parking processes at Quinnipiac.

Ellett, who joined the Quinnipiac administration in August 2020 after serving as a senior student affairs officer at New York University for more than a decade, also coordinates several student advisory boards to address student concerns about on-campus issues such as dining.

“At every school I’ve been at, food, parking and registration are issues,” said Ellett, who has more than three decades of experience in higher education. “And so, the advisory boards that I created have been probably the strongest sense of our sense of reality for me.”

However, Ellett told student media that his role as CXO also positions him as a community leader at Quinnipiac and allows him to work closely alongside the student body.

“I feel really, really blessed with … some of the relationships I have with students,” Ellett said. “And I feel really, really lucky to have met some students who are really going to change the world in so many ways.”

As part of his role, Ellett lives among Quinnipiac students in The Commons Residence Hall. The university demolished at least three quad dorms in the first-year dorm building in 2021 to construct a three-bedroom apartment for Ellett and his wife, Gladys Vallespir Ellett, who is also an assistant professor of nursing at Quinnipiac.

“I’ve been living in residence halls for about 32 of my 37 years in my professional life,” Ellett said. “For me, it was really about the idea of, ‘How do we immerse more adult presences around students?’”

The CXO’s on-campus residency — and the renovations his Commons apartment required — faced significant backlash from Quinnipiac students.

However, asked Monday about his decision to live in a first-year residence hall at Quinnipiac, Ellett said he believes residential administrators can mentor students in a way that other faculty cannot.

“I do think it can add something very valuable in terms of just the level of care and concern that can be brought to the residence halls,” Ellett said.

He also said the university plans to expand its faculty-in-residence program upon the completion of the first-year residence hall being constructed as part of the $293 million South Quad project.

“That’s a model that I have helped create at other institutions that were exceedingly successful,” Ellett said. “It is a movement that many universities have started to do, and I think it’s a good thing for Quinnipiac to be doing at this moment in time.”

Ellett emphasized throughout the conversation that he strives to represent the interests of Quinnipiac students above all else.

“There’s still other students out there who don’t feel that their voice matters, and that’s tremendously bothersome to me,” Ellett said. “At the end of the day, it’s our institution — not mine — it’s ours, right?”

CORRECTION 4/26: A previous version of this story said that Ellett’s on-campus residence required multimillion-dollar renovations but did not clarify that the $4 million renovations Quinnipiac University undertook in 2021 included renovations to both the Commons and the Complex residence halls.