Anna Gonzalez named next Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Anna Gonzalez, the current vice president for student affairs at Harvey Mudd College, will join Washington University as the next Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, July 1.
Gonzalez will succeed Dr. Lori White, who announced last March that she would be leaving her position to become the next president of DePauw University. Dean of Students Rob Wild held the interim position while a search committee of 15 administrators, faculty members and students considered different candidates.
“Dr. Gonzalez is an exceptionally talented and well known leader in our field,” Wild wrote in a statement to Student Life. “She is coming to Wash. U. at a very exciting time for us. I have been in close communication with her during the past two weeks and I can confidently say our students and our team in Student Affairs have a lot to look forward to! She is an outstanding professional.”
Gonzalez said that she was drawn to the University in particular because of the institution’s potential to be a catalyst for social change in an important region of the country.
“[It is] the work of Wash. U. to really look at the privilege that the institution has and what to do with that privilege,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not just talking about wealth, but more importantly the talent of the faculty and students and staff, and to say we’re really going to open up opportunities for other communities…who do not have those same advantages.”
As an immigrant and a first generation college student, Gonzalez emphasized the importance of intentionally designing spaces that are welcoming towards students from all backgrounds.
“I think that when you talk about first gen, immigrant or low income students, how do we invite their families and their experiences as something relevant and wonderful and not something that we expect the students to hide or we expect the students to be ashamed of,” Gonzalez said. “Shutting the doors of institutions [like Washington University] is not going to bode well for success.”
Although Gonzalez has her own ideas about the work that needs to be done, she acknowledged the importance of gathering ideas and feedback from the Washington University community, something she hopes to accomplish with a “listening and learning tour.”
“I want to hear from the different populations, different clubs and organizations and different types of involvement, all the way from athletes to students who are concerned about their experiences as a first generation student, for students who are in Greek Life, for students who are sixth generation college students trying to understand what this world is about,” Gonzalez said.
During her four years working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gonzalez spent a lot of time visiting the city of St. Louis and said that she was excited to return and experience the city again. Although Gonzalez spent the last four years working at a college with only 844 students, she said that her experience working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California Irvine, two large public universities, prepared her well to come to a school the size of Washington University.
“The student experience is at the heart of what we do here at Washington University,” Chancellor Andrew Martin told The Source. “It is essential to our mission that we create a supportive, engaging campus environment where our students can learn, explore and thrive. We could not be more pleased to have attracted a talented leader like Anna Gonzalez to this critical role.”