Linda Kuk, vice president for student affairs at Colorado State University since 2001, will be leaving the vice presidency to teach full-time in the university’s School of Education and direct its renowned graduate program in student affairs.
Kuk will take over the leadership of the Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate program, which prepares students for careers in college student personnel services and administration. Blanche Hughes, associate vice president for student affairs since 2002, will serve as interim vice president beginning August 16.
President Larry Penley praised Kuk’s leadership at the university during a time that saw a number of landmarks in the student affairs arena, including the construction of the first new campus residence hall in decades and a strengthened focus on preventing student alcohol abuse.
"Linda Kuk has dedicated her career to students and to ensuring they have the resources and support they need to be successful in college and throughout their lives," Penley said. "We have valued her leadership as a vice president and will continue to benefit greatly from her experience and expertise as a member of our education faculty."
"We are extremely appreciative of Linda’s efforts to provide student programs that emphasize school spirit, community engagement and leadership opportunities for students," said Tony Frank, Colorado State senior vice president and provost. "She has been an integral part of our mission to help maximize the collegiate experience for students while at the same time preparing them to be good global citizens."
As she nears retirement, Kuk, a Colorado State alumna, said she wants to spend her time and energy focusing on teaching and working more closely with students, while remaining at the university she loves.
Prior to joining Colorado State, Kuk spent eight years as vice president for student affairs at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., and nine years as vice president for student affairs at the State University of New York at Cortland. She served as a consultant in China and France, on the National Challenger Project’s planning committee for the 10th anniversary commemoration, and on boards of directors for a family counseling center, a women’s sports advocacy group and the YMCA.
She has served on the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, or NASPA, board of directors as Region II Vice President. In October 2003, she was named Alumni of the Year for the College of Education at Iowa State University, and in March 2004, she was named a Pillar of the Profession by the NASPA Foundation.
Kuk earned a doctorate in professional studies at Iowa State University in 1981; she obtained her bachelor’s with distinction in social work and master’s in education, both from Colorado State University. She has written and presented papers on varied subjects in the areas of higher education administration, management, gender studies and career development.
Hughes is a past director of Black Student Services who first joined the vice president’s office as interim assistant vice-president in 2000. She was appointed assistant vice president in 2001 and was promoted to associate vice president in 2002. She received a 2006 Distinguished Administrative Professional Award from the university in May. She received the university’s Minority Distinguished Service Award in 1997.
Hughes helped write the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado State Diversity Grant that helped fund a significant Multicultural Infusion Project on campus in the 1990s. She was also instrumental in establishing the Paul Chambers Scholarship Fund, which supports students who contribute to campus diversity and leadership.
She obtained a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Earlham College, and her master’s and doctoral degrees – in education and sociology, respectively – from Colorado State.