Dean Violanti: First Year Dean, Apple Connoisseur

Photo courtesy of Dean Violanti.

Every student at McDaniel, at some point or another, has encountered a passionate athlete. An apple connoisseur. A horror movie lover. Dean Violanti is all of these and more.

Dean V, as many students, peer mentors and faculty at McDaniel call her, is more than just the Associate Dean for First Year Students. Dean V enjoys family time, the color red, summer, fish—”which may or may not” be her “spirit animal”—and pierogies, a Polish dish.

Her first job was at Wegmans, a grocery store chain, as a cashier. She worked for Wegmans for ten consecutive years, even though she also worked as a counselor in a Catholic school. Dean V declares that working for Wegmans allowed her to acquire an intricate knowledge of produce, and she still remembers the codes for most produce in the market.

Dean V’s life does not only revolve around produce and counseling, but also around sports.

“I am a huge health and wellness nut,” Dean V says.

She has been an athlete her whole life, participating in activities such as swimming, hiking, and running, among many others. This love for fitness and wellness is reflected in the time she spends exercising—at least an hour per day—and even in her vacation time.

“Most of my vacations are based on hiking,” she says. She particularly enjoys trips to Las Vegas and the vicinity area — not because of the casinos, but because of the hiking trails.

Although this might not seem obvious at first sight, Dean V also loves horror films.

“My favorite movie genre would have to be horror, specifically those psychological thrillers,” she comments. This might come as a surprise to anyone who knows Dean V, since many people’s first impression of her is that of a sweet, generous woman.

Dean V grew up in Buffalo, New York. She attended State University of New York, where she earned her Bachelors of Science and Criminal Justice, and Canisius College where she pursued a Masters in Counseling Education. She earned her Ph.D. in health psychology at the University of Buffalo.

Her first “adult” job was as a school counselor for a Catholic school, upon which she decided to move to a public high school because she saw a higher need of counseling in public schools. This eventually led her to McDaniel College, where she became Associate Dean for First Year Students.

You can always find Dean V in the First Stop Office, email her at, or friend her on Facebook.