I am writing to update the campus on our search for a vice president for student affairs. Dr. Peter Gitau has accepted the position and will begin on April 1. We are excited to welcome Peter to the NKU leadership team. His breadth and depth of experience make him an ideal candidate to lead student affairs. He will play an important role in our continued growth and enhanced commitment to student success.
I’d like to thank Dr. Lisa Rhine for her leadership in student affairs as interim vice president. Lisa has been a good steward during our presidential transition, and I speak for the entire university community when I express my gratitude for the work she has done. I would also like to thank Vice President Gerard St. Amand and the entire search committee, as well as everyone who participated in the search process by attending campus forums and providing critical candidate feedback.
Dr. Gitau has served as associate vice chancellor and dean of students at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale since 2008. As chief student affairs officer at SIU, he oversees 14 departments in a comprehensive student services division and works collaboratively with all key academic and administrative leaders in a major research university with an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students.
Here Dr. Gitau will be responsible for all student support services and will serve on our operations team, executive team and cabinet. The vice president for student affairs oversees Student Life; University Housing; Campus Recreation; Career Development; the Student Union and University Center; Student Orientation and Parents Programs; Health, Counseling and Prevention; African American Student Affairs; Latino Student Affairs; Early Childhood Center; Educational Talent Search; Student Achievement Center; Testing and Disability Services; University Connect and Persist; and Upward Bound. In addition to developing goals and strategies for achieving growth and excellence in our student services programs, he will also oversee the ongoing development and programming for our $45 million Campus Recreation Center renovation and expansion.
Dr. Gitau was born in Kenya and received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. He earned a Master’s in Educational Administration at Eastern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Administration at the University of Kansas. He and his wife, Trizah, have three children – Tim (20), Joy (15) and Hope (12).
As you might imagine, he is very excited to join our dynamic, vibrant institution. He specifically noted that during his campus visits it was clear that our faculty and staff care deeply about students and each other. I have often said it is our people that make us a remarkable university, and I am confident Dr. Gitau will be welcomed as warmly as I have been.
Geoffrey S. Mearns
Northern Kentucky University
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099