Photo Courtesy of Towson University/Alex Wright
By: Alisha Hancock, Assistant Editor
A welcome reception was held for Vernon Hurte, Vice President of Student Affairs, on Sept. 29. The reception took place in the ballroom located on the third floor of the University Union. Towson University (TU) students, faculty, and staff were all invited to attend.
Hurte started the position of vice president in February 2020, but was unable to have a welcome reception until now because of COVID-19.
“I was here for about six weeks and then COVID[-19] hit,” Hurte said. “We had the stay at home order and so the original reception was postponed basically. Now that we’re back, this gave us an opportunity to have the welcome reception.”
The reception began with a speech by TU President Kim Schatzel. Melanie Perreault, Provost and Executive for Academic and Student Affairs, and Jordan DeVeaux, Student Government Association (SGA) president, each spoke as well before Dr. Hurte closed the event.
As Vice President of Student Affairs, Hurte has often worked closely with the SGA. DeVeaux discussed the positive experiences she has had while working with Hurte.
“It has just been so eye-opening to have him as an advisor and mentor,” DeVeaux said. “I can always trust that at every table he’s going to represent [students’] needs. Reaching out to him is so easy. Sending an email or shooting a text, he’s always on the other line prepared to answer.”
Sean Welsh, Interim Vice President of University Marketing and Communications, was also at the reception. Welsh described how Hurte has been a positive addition to TU’s community, and discussed several changes he has seen since Hurte was hired. He specifically addressed Hurte’s impact through collaboration and communication at TU.
“He’s such a collaborator across teams,” Welsh said. “He’s always kind of thinking a step ahead so I’ve seen the ability for us to work across divisions only improve since he’s been here.”
Hurte stressed his goal of making a positive impact on TU students and their experiences at Towson. He stated how his own experiences at college were transformative and how he hopes for TU students to feel the same.
“I really want to continue to elevate our students,” Hurte said. “My hope for the student experience is that when students leave Towson University, they really felt like they were able to thrive. They were really able to flourish.”
DeVeaux discussed a new effort that Hurte is going to implement in an attempt to bring him closer to reaching his goal.
“He is broadcasting soon some efforts to get outside of SGA, outside of student leadership,” DeVeaux said. “Any student that you see walking around on campus would have the opportunity to apply to be a part of an advisory council for him.”
The overall reaction to Hurte as Vice President of Student Affairs so far has been positive. His prioritization of student needs was specifically commended.
“He’s not afraid to make difficult decisions and, as many of the speakers said today at the podium, he’s continued to put student success first with everything that he’s done,” Welsh said.