Ricardo Hall named Lehigh's new Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Ricardo Hall, the associate vice president for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students at the University of Miami, has been named Vice Provost for Student Affairs at Lehigh. Hall, who will officially begin his tenure on June 30, 2017, will succeed John Smeaton, who retired from the position in 2016 after 32 years at Lehigh.

At the private, 15,000-student University of Miami, Hall served as the division’s second ranking officer to the vice president, overseeing areas that included alcohol/other drug education, Greek life, chaplain’s association, judicial affairs and veteran student services. He also supervised crisis coordinators, a 24-hour crisis response team.

The selection of Hall followed a national search process that spanned several months, and involved a series of interviews with stakeholders across the university, as well as presentations on an invigorating student life experience. Throughout the search process, said Provost Pat Farrell, “everyone who met with Ric was impressed by the breadth of his expertise and his passion for creating an extraordinary student life experience. From his previous role, we know that he can work across divisions and across colleges to continue to develop and sustain a Lehigh student experience that is truly distinctive.”

Hall was on campus over the past few weeks as the search process concluded, and the sense of excitement he generated was palpable among those who met with him, said Search Committee Chair Anne Anderson, associate professor in the Perella Department of Finance.

“The fact that he was already known to many in the Student Affairs division was very telling,” she said. “They knew of his work, his accomplishments and his reputation, and they were very enthused at the prospect of working with him. He is someone who is interested in the personal development of the students, as well as the professionals working for him. That will ultimately accrue to the benefit of Lehigh’s students as he builds on the strong, established Student Affairs foundation, and takes it to the next level.”

Hall expressed his own excitement to join the Lehigh family and looking forward to “coming to know, learn from, and work with students, faculty, and administrators.

“It is a personal and professional honor to be entrusted with the important responsibility of leading Lehigh's already exceptional Division of Student Affairs at such a transformative time for the university,” he added. “The individuals and offices with whom I've interacted have been warm and welcoming, and have left me both impressed and eager to be a part of the shaping of Lehigh's future in support of student success in and outside the classroom.”

Hall said he and his family are “very much looking forward to our transition and becoming active and engaged members of the community, both on campus and in the Lehigh Valley."

Decades of experience

At Lehigh, Hall will head up one of the university’s largest divisions, which includes the Dean of Students Office, the Health and Wellness Center, University Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Advancement and Prevention Strategies, the Women’s Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Pride Center and ROTC.

Hall will bring more than 20 years of experience in the field through roles at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Clemson University in South Carolina, and the University of Miami in Florida, where he has served since 2006.

In a message to colleagues at the University of Miami to announce Hall’s departure, Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely lauded his leadership, logistical expertise, professional accomplishments and his “calming presence for the university,” particularly in crisis situations.

“Ric is a wonderful role model for our students,” she said. “He is always willing to have a conversation with a student about any issue or concern and demonstrates the highest level of integrity. (He) has been a terrific leader for UM and for the division of Student Affairs.” In addition to overall management of the Dean of Students office at the University of Miami, Hall served as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education and Human Development, and was co-advisor to Student Government and the Committee on Student Organizations.

Hall has presented locally, regionally, and nationally on subjects including mentoring, student discipline, diversity, leadership skills development, Greek Life, and wellness. He is a frequently requested speaker known to incorporate humor and pop culture into observations and analysis of current issues, according to his University of Miami bio.

He earned both his bachelor’s degree in business management and his master’s in higher education administration from Ohio University, and his doctorate in educational leadership from Clemson University.

With the search process complete, Farrell expressed his gratitude both to the members of the search committee who dedicated so much time and energy during the past few months and to Ian Birky, who has served as Interim Provost for Student Affairs since last June.

“Ian has been a valued member of our university community for more than a quarter century, and his service during this time of transition has been invaluable to our students,” Farrell said. “I know you will all join me in thanking him for his tireless efforts on behalf of Lehigh.”

In addition to Anderson, the search committee included:

Lynn Columba, Associate Professor, Education and Human Services

Christian Dietz, Undergraduate Student, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Kathleen Hutnik, Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies

Heather Johnson, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Rita Jones, Director, Women’s Center

Lori McClaind, Sr. Assistant Dean of Students, Office of Academic Transition

Thomas Novak, Interim Director, Health Center

Henry Odi, Vice Provost for Academic Diversity

Gorgi Pavlov, Graduate Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Greg Tonkay, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, RCEAS

Susan Troyan, Head Coach: Women's Basketball

Jack Vresics ’81, ‘12P, Lehigh University Trustee

Linda Mery, assistant administrative director in the provost’s office, provided support.

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