News from NKU

For immediate release…
Monday – Feb. 11, 2013

NKU Names Dr. Peter Gitau VP for Student Affairs

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey S. Mearns announced today that Dr. Peter Gitau has been named vice president for student affairs, effective April 1, 2013.

Dr. Gitau has served as associate vice chancellor and dean of students at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, since 2008. At NKU, he will be responsible for all student support services and will serve on the president’s operations team, executive team and cabinet.

“We are excited to welcome Peter Gitau to the NKU leadership team,” said President Mearns. “Peter’s breadth and depth of experience make him an ideal candidate to lead student affairs. He will play an important role in NKU’s continued growth and enhanced commitment to student success.”

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.

“I am excited at the opportunity to become a part of the NKU family and look forward to a successful transition,” Dr. Gitau said. “During my visits, I witnessed the true demonstration of a dynamic, vibrant and student-centered university. It was evident that faculty and staff genuinely care about students and each other.”

In addition to developing goals and strategies for achieving growth and excellence in student services programs, Dr. Gitau will also oversee the ongoing development and programming for a $45 million Campus Recreation Center renovation and expansion.

“I’d like to thank Dr. Lisa Rhine for her leadership in student affairs as interim vice president,” President Mearns said. “Dr. Rhine 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.”

As chief student affairs officer at SIU, Dr. Gitau 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 just under 20,000 students.

He provides leadership in key university committees such as the university-wide Campus Violence Prevention committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, the Chancellor’s Executive committee and the University College committee among many others. As a champion of diversity and inclusive excellence, he also collaborates with the office of Institutional Diversity in planning and coordinating diversity initiatives within the university.

He is widely traveled and leads international service learning programs. He is a regular presenter at professional conferences and has taught in the areas of cross cultural and diversity competency as well as many other disciplines.

Prior to his tenure at SIU, Dr. Gitau served as dean of student life at the University of Dubuque. Previously, he had served as executive assistant to the president for diversity at Manchester University (Ind.); was chief administrator at Veritas Christian School (Kansas), and was an instructor in foreign languages at the University of Kansas.

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.

“This is a university that is clearly on the move and I am looking forward to joining a team and leading a division that plays a key role in promoting student learning and development,” Dr. Gitau said.

He and his wife, Trizah, have three children – Tim (20), Joy (15) and Hope (12).

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