Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III announced today that he has appointed Louis W. Stark as Case Western Reserve’s new vice president for student affairs. Stark, a veteran of more than three decades’ service to young people in higher education, will start his position July 1, pending approval from the Board of Trustees.
“Lou distinguished himself as an individual dedicated to collaborating with individuals and offices across the campus to serve the best interests of students,” Baeslack said. “He has the experience and perspective required to forge strong partnerships and advance programs to new levels.”
Stark has worked at seven institutions over the past 34 years, including Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Rochester and Tulane University. His service has spanned realms including Greek life, residential life, financial aid, student advising, judicial affairs and leadership development. This position marks his third leading an entire student affairs operation; he has spent the past several years at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was well known for his work to engage with faculty, staff and students.
“We’re there to support the academic mission,” Stark said. “[We ask] ‘how do you work together to be really deliberate about that?’ ”
Vice President for Enrollment Management Rick Bischoff led the search committee, which considered five dozen candidates before on-campus sessions with finalists. Bischoff said he and other members were impressed by Stark’s passion for serving students and enthusiasm for pursuing that work specifically at Case Western Reserve.
Stark spent extra time on campus during one of his interview visits to give himself ample opportunity to walk the campus and speak informally to students. He enjoyed the energy and sense of momentum he found, and welcomed the opportunity to return to a selective research institution. Stark and his family moved to Iowa to be close to their children’s grandparents; his daughter is now in college and his son soon will be a high school senior.
“When this opportunity came up,” Stark said, “it was the right time.”
Stark has been nationally active in professional organizations throughout his career, and today serves on the NCAA Division III Management Council and the NCAA/NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) joint steering committee regarding alcohol abuse and its eradication. Stark also participates in civic affairs, including membership on his community’s city council and an earlier stint for strategic planning of a local school district.
Stark will succeed Glenn Nicholls, who is retiring this year after more than 26 years as the university’s vice president for student affairs. Among the most significant developments during Nicholls’ tenure were the construction and opening of the Veale Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center and the Village at 115, a state-of-the-art residential complex whose seven houses encircle the university football field and track. Nicholls will remain on campus to lead select special projects.
Stark joins our campus as the university continues to strengthen the quality and selectivity of our entering undergraduate classes and prepares to open the Tinkham Veale University Center next year. He also will play a significant role in Case Western Reserve’s work implementing the university-wide strategic plan scheduled for completion this summer.