Lawrenceville School Announces Wellness Team
On June 2, Head of School Steve Murray announced Lawrenceville’s new Wellness Team: Inaugural Dean of Campus Wellbeing Dr. Rae Chresfield, Medical Director Dr. Chris Renjilian, and Interim Dean of Students Blake Eldridge '96, all senior staff positions that will work together to support and strengthen community well-being. The Wellness Team will be overseen by Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives Marquis Scott, who will lead ongoing collaboration and bring a proactive, holistic approach to campus well-being across myriad facets of school life.
“Over the course of the past year, we have more closely examined Lawrenceville’s priority of well-being. We have gathered in town halls and in small groups, as Houses and as teams, as an administration and as a community, to better understand our collective definition of well-being and how this has evolved over time,” said Murray. “Dr. Chresfield, Dr. Renjilian, and Dean Eldridge are dynamic, ambitious, and talented, and I trust their collaboration will result in positive, forward-thinking outcomes for our community.”
Key priorities for the student-centered Wellness Team include:
● Creating a campus environment that prioritizes student social-emotional health
● Fostering a residential culture of care and inclusion
● Providing leadership and support for student organizations that promote health and wellness
Dr. Rae Chresfield, Dean of Campus Wellbeing
Dr. Rae Chresfield has been appointed as the inaugural Dean of Campus Wellbeing and is charged with developing a public health approach to promote student and community well-being, including collaborating with campus partners to create a holistic and inclusive approach to student mental health. Dr. Chresfield will also have teaching and House responsibilities, being a highly visible presence in the School community.
She joins Lawrenceville from the University of Delaware, where she is currently Assistant Vice President of Student Life and Wellness. In this role, she has been responsible for cultivating a vision that emphasizes the importance of community well-being, establishing a strategic framework to advance institutional well-being goals, and facilitating and strengthening partnerships among campus stakeholders.
Throughout her career, Dr. Chresfield has held a variety of roles at liberal arts colleges across the country, including Associate Dean of Health and Wellness, Director of Counseling, academic advisor, and clinical supervisor, in addition to operating her own private practice in therapy.
Dr. Chresfield's expertise and dedication to promoting student well-being and implementing student-centered strategies to foster a culture of well-being greatly impressed the search committee. She shared that she is looking forward to joining a community aimed at growth, healing, and thoughtful change.
"My approach to student well-being is rooted in collaboration, empowerment and assisting human beings in building skills to make healthy choices in the context," she said. "I am moving into the role with a learning stance. I want to learn how students, faculty, and staff define and envision well-being. I will take what I learn to create layered, sustainable education efforts that help community members apply a well-being lens to real life situations."
Dr. Chresfield holds a Master of Arts in mental health and wellness in applied psychology from New York University and a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Buffalo.
Dr. Chris Renjilian, Medical Director
Dr. Chris Renjilian has been appointed as Lawrenceville’s new medical director and will focus on the overall care of our students while being a resource to faculty in their support of student health. He will oversee the medical staff and counseling team, and work alongside our athletic trainers.
Dr. Renjilian is a board-certified pediatrician who specializes in adolescent medicine and sports medicine. He comes to Lawrenceville from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is an appointed member of the faculty, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where he serves as an attending physician with both the Division of Adolescent Medicine and the Division of Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine and Performance Center. His recent clinical work has spanned between the inpatient hospital, office settings, and Covenant House Pennsylvania, a crisis center and shelter for youth who are unhoused. He has significant experience on the sidelines and in athletic training rooms at high school, collegiate, and professional levels. Across the range of clinical settings in which he has practiced, he has collaborated closely with multidisciplinary teams that include nurses, behavioral health clinicians, social workers, registered dieticians, athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, radiologists and physical therapists to develop optimal plans of care.
Dr. Renjilian’s approach to his practice centers on fostering connections that enable community members to adapt while recognizing and building upon their strengths.
“I'm committed to helping young people grow to become the adults who we need to lead and care for our world together in the future,” he said. “Young people are often capable of coming up with some of the best solutions for challenges that affect their wellness. When problems arise, we do our best work when we stay present and stick with them, reflect back to them who they really are, empower them to spot their weaknesses and learn to trust in their existing capabilities, and (when needed) model or guide them to a range of strategies they can use to find solutions they can take with them moving forward.”
Dr. Renjilian holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from the College of William & Mary, a Master of Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he holds a certificate as a Bridging the Gaps in Community Health Scholar. He completed his fellowship training in both Adolescent Medicine and Sports Medicine following his residency in Pediatrics at CHOP.
Blake Eldridge '96, Interim Dean of Students 
In his current role as Associate Dean of Students, Blake Eldridge is charged with supervising student discipline and development and partnering with the Assistant Dean of Students and Dean of Academics to ensure the successful coordination and convening of disciplinary hearings.
Eldridge is noted in the School community as being strongly committed to student well-being, and balancing high expectations for student conduct, behavior, and accountability, while demonstrating his characteristic deep compassion and empathy. His commitment extends to the mental, academic, emotional, social, and physical health of students - demonstrating his holistic and inclusive approach to community well-being. As a well-rounded leader, Eldridge is deeply caring, holds students to high standards, and empathizes with their experiences, reflecting the qualities we value in a dean of students.
An important aspect of Eldridge's charge is promoting a healthy campus culture in which adolescents can thrive, coordinating all aspects of student services, and supervising and working with the Heads of Houses in our residential House system, one of Lawrenceville's enduring and distinctive features.
Eldridge is a 1996 graduate of The Lawrenceville School and has served as Dean of Students, chair of the religion and philosophy department, English teacher, Level Director, and Head of House. He is a 1996 graduate of The Lawrenceville School and earned a Master of Arts in English from Middlebury College and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Chicago. 
“The past three years have presented unprecedented challenges for us at Lawrenceville, and indeed for many schools and communities across the country. But they have also spurred new ways of thinking, collaborating, and engaging that will benefit our school now, and for generations to come,” said Murray. “Lawrenceville’s forthcoming strategic plan is focused exclusively on well-being, and will further underscore this institutional priority with clear aspirations and goals, and well defined paths toward achieving them. I have engaged groups of students, parents, faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees in visioning exercises and listening sessions and am encouraged by the support and dedication of our community in moving ahead, together.”
For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at