Although one vice chancellor will leave the university in April, his presence will not soon be forgotten.
Peter Gitau, who has held the associate vice chancellor for student life and intercultural relations position since 2008, said he will start his new position as vice president of student affairs at Northern Kentucky University on April 1.
Gitau said he has mixed feelings about leaving the university, but he sees his new
position as professional development. “It’s bittersweet because I have invested so much time at SIU, and there are things here that are my
babies,” Gitau said. During his tenure, Gitau helped
initiate Saluki Cares, the Black Male Initiative, Center for Inclusive Excellence, Center for Service Learning and the Office for Non- Traditional Students.
He said he is a student diversity advocate and has used his position to publicize study abroad programs.
“I hope the person who comes into my position will be a strong advocate for students and continue to work strongly with the study abroad program,” Gitau said. “There has been many powerful initiatives put into place within the last few years and I hope whoever comes into my position continues to support them.”
Gitau also leads an annual Kenya study abroad trip, and even though he will soon leave the university he will still conduct this year’s trip, he said.
“I made a commitment to the students, and I want to keep that commitment,” he said.
According to a Feb. 11 NKU press release, Gitau will oversee Student Life, University Housing, Campus Recreation and African-American Student affairs among various other departments.
Gitau said SIU has three associate vice chancellors, but one position covers all student affairs at NKU. Although the heightened responsibilities will be a challenge, Gitau said, he is excited to perform his duties on a larger scale.
“I have seen challenges here, and I see challenges at Kentucky,” he said. “I am excited to see what I can do.”
Chris Cole, NKU’s marketing and communications director, said NKU staff is enthusiastic for Gitau’s arrival.
“We are pretty excited,” he said. “We had a pretty extensive national search for a candidate, and Peter Gitau was very well received on our campus.”
Cole said NKU is entering a period of change — the university has a first-year president, has requested a Division 1 athletics classification and is working to build a new student success center. Gitau will be an integral part of that change, he said.
“Hopefully, he can be a steward on our campus as we move on to new things,” Cole said. “I think the future is exciting, and to have the vice president on board on a very specific (student affairs) division for how we grow and what type of institution we are is exciting.”
Chancellor Rita Cheng said Gitau is an esteemed administration member and she wishes him well.
“Dr Gitau has been a very valued part of my team,” Cheng said. “He will be missed.”
Cheng said the administration will name an interim vice chancellor shortly.