JESSICA GIANNONE, GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER:
In the heart of much-expressed reflection and mixed emotions, Southern’s vice president of Student and University Affairs Ronald Herron will be resigning from his position, effective July 1, 2011.
Herron, in his letter to President Stanley Battle, said he could not imagine a “more professionally and personally rewarding” way to bring his 42 years of service in the public higher education sector to a close than to have had the opportunity to serve his final years at Southern.
“I will always carry with me memories of my work with administrative colleagues, staff and faculty,” said Herron, “many of whom have become life-long friends.”
Herron has served in his position since 2006, overseeing 26 areas of the university, such as career, counseling, health and food services, residence life, safety and different clubs, organizations and centers around campus.
Assistant vice president and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Troiano will be filling Herron’s position as interim vice president. A search for a permanent replacement will commence
in the fall.
“I hope that I can continue the work that he’s been doing,” said Troiano. “We’ve worked hard to make sure that students have more of a voice on campus. I would want to make sure that students continue to have a voice.”
Herron said he has had so many memorable experiences, especially the ones in which students reflected compassion for their student body.
He recalled events such as when students came together in support of a student battling cancer and participated in food drives and field days with children.
He said for the number of students who are engaged in doing something for a cause, for people who are in need, he is confident about the society of Southern and sees that kind of energy and passion.
“To have interacted with thousands of students in my career,” said Herron, “to be informed, challenged and enriched by them is just a gift. Every person should be so lucky in their career to have had that opportunity.”
Herron said the main reason for his retirement is that it’s “just the right time” for him. He said he doesn’t know where he will end up yet, and has every confidence that there are a lot of “little side paths” for him to potentially explore, and will ontinue to keep his “eyes wide open.”
He said he has been thinking about retirement for about a year, and concluded
that there are some other things he wants to do, and wants to have the energy to do them.
He said he has listened to his own advice that he’s been giving to others along the way, when he has talked about moments in time when someone says they are up for a change.
He explained how “when one finds themself” thinking about change, he or she can slug away or be bold enough to risk with confidence that what that person carries will carry him or her forward.
“I’ve given that advice to people,” said Herron. “To move forward, and have the courage to risk. My voice kept coming back to me, and I began to listen. It’s about my willingness to accept change in my life; to embrace it and to be present in it.”
Troiano said Herron’s resignation was unexpected, but expressed gratitude that he has been able to benefit from working with him every day.
Troiano said although Herron’s time has been short, Herron has made such an impact on the university, and he wants to make sure he is respected for the work he’s done and use that as a way to build and move forward.
Maintaining the current level of support and service for students is a top priority, Troiano said.
Herron and Troiano have been meeting to discuss the transition process.
Herron said the challenges in administration are always about creating a culture with openness and honesty. He said it is all about getting the hopes of individuals and groups to align with each other and collaborate in such a way that the university’s mission is furthered.
He noted how the university is in the context of economic challenges, and he is confident
that Southern will emerge even stronger from this crisis, and that student leadership is poised to do great things.
“Imagine a better work and do your part in it,” said Herron in his words of advice to the Southern community. “Try to be present in all you do.”
Troiano said he hopes to continue Herron’s ability to keep student needs on the forefront while the university is engaging in difficult decisions.
Troiano said he is looking forward to the summer to plan the academic year, and is confident that the university will come up with a plan that will represent Herron’s vision for the future, as he works to see that vision is enhanced and carried out.
“Southern will be Southern,” said Herron. “It will thrive.”
VP of student and university affairs announces resignation
JESSICA GIANNONE, GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER: