Pierson College Dean Christa Dove GRD ’76 will retire from Yale at the end of the academic year, she announced Monday in an e-mail to all Pierson students.

Dove, a German professor, has served as dean of Pierson for 22 years. Students said she has made significant contributions to the college and that they would miss her.

Dove said she is unsure of her future plans, but she said she will try to become more involved in the New Haven community.

“It’s going to be a bittersweet experience,” Dove said. “I have loved this job from the beginning and that’s never changed over all these years.”

Piersonite Phil Kenney ’05 said Dove is a sociable member of the Pierson community, always friendly and approachable.

“She’s been an asset to the college, always eating with us in the dining hall, conversing with the students, and just always being there for us,” he said.

Other students also praised Dove’s contributions to Pierson. Until becoming a freshman counselor this year, Natalie Spicyn ’05 said, Spicyn did not know how much work Dove does for the college.

“Dean Dove is great for us to work with,” Spicyn said. “She cares a lot about the students. I didn’t realize how hard she tried to make sure we were happy, academically successful and well adjusted to college life.”

Branford Dean Thomas McDow ’93, who knew Dove when he was a Yale undergraduate, even though he was in Saybrook College, said it has been a pleasure knowing Dove as both her student and as her colleague.

“I’ve known her for a long time,” McDow said. “She’s been wonderful to me and other new deans.”

Dove’s retirement is especially sad for juniors, who will miss her during their last year at Yale, Piersonite Taniyah Eyer ’06 said.

“It was definitely a bit of a shock to get the e-mail today, especially for my class because we are going into our last year,” Eyer said. “She’s all we’ve ever known and we would have liked to have her around for our last year.”

Students who were present in 2002 recalled the surprise party they held for Dove two years ago to celebrate her 20th year. Dove called the party “amazing.”

“I was totally amazed that 450 students can keep a secret for so long,” she said.

Whatever the future holds for Dove, she said she will always remember Piersonites both past and present.

“They’re like my extended family, always,” Dove said.