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The Faces That Make Us: Wendy Kalamar ’98

by Paige Dormann May 28, 2024
Wendy Kalamar

Twenty years. That’s how long Wendy Kalamar ’98 has been working at DeSales.

But her connection to the University began long before that, when she embarked on her undergraduate career at Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in 1994, graduating in 1998 with degrees in psychology and criminal justice. 

From being the inaugural intern of our Counseling Center to playing a key role in the launch of the Character U First-Year Experience program, Early Alert program, DeSales Care Team, and more, Kalamar has had a profound impact on our University. Now, as associate dean of student retention and wellness, she oversees the Health and Counseling Centers on campus while continuing to counsel a modest caseload of students.  

What do you love about DeSales?

The people. In many ways, they are my extended family. I have worked with several of my colleagues for well over a decade. We all work so well together, and we do our best every day to support one another professionally and personally. DeSales is really a home away from home. 

Why have you dedicated your life to wellness? 

I have had so many people in my life help me become who I am today, that I want to be able to be that person for others, especially our students. My passion lies in helping others in their overall wellness, focusing specifically on mental health. If you think about it, most other aspects of wellness, whether physical, spiritual, etc. all impact our overall mental health.

The Wellness Center provides critical resources for students during the semester, but how do you help them prepare for breaks?

When we are coming upon breaks, we are always sure to provide our students with resources, whether it is finding a therapist in their hometown, recommending books, or even locating a support group. This is really important for their continuation of care. We want our students to continue to achieve the goals that they set for themselves in counseling. College is a perfect time for students to discover more about who they are, and to collect as many tools as they can for any difficulties they may face in the future. 

Favorite place to unwind on campus?

I just love walking around campus. Every season is so beautiful here, and there is nothing more breathtaking than a DeSales sunset.

How about around the Lehigh Valley? 

I have lived here all my life, but my husband and I managed to rediscover all of the local parks and walking trails thanks to COVID. If we had to pick one favorite, it would probably be Jacobsburg State Park. We also love to walk around Historic Bethlehem and always make a stop for coffee at Bitty and Beau’s. But if I’m being honest, my favorite place to relax is on our deck, sitting on the couch by the fire pit with my favorite drink in hand.