5 questions with…new VP of Student Affairs Louis Stark

Louis StarkA far cry from the big city lifestyle of his hometown of Long Island, N.Y., Louis Stark attended college at Davis & Elkins College—a small-liberal arts school with an enrollment of less than 800 students in the mountains of Elkins, W.Va.

It was there that Stark became involved in student activities and programs and forged a friendship with the dean of students. He began to understand the importance of a well-balanced educational experience and the impact an administrator could have on the success of young people.

Thirty-four years later, Stark has made a difference in the lives of thousands of students at seven institutions around the country, including Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Rochester and Tulane University.

His work has ranged from admissions, Greek life, residential life, financial aid, student advising, judicial affairs and leadership development.

This is the third time he has served as vice president of student affairs. His first stint was at Central College in Pella, Iowa, and most recently, he held the position at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Although a long way from his family in Iowa, it was the perfect time for Stark to make a move and become the next vice president of student affairs at Case Western Reserve.

“The kids are grown—my daughter is in college and my son is entering his senior year of high school—and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join such a prestigious, nationally ranked private institution like Case Western Reserve University,” Stark said. “I also saw it as a great opportunity to get back into the extensive research environment.”

Stark looks forward to picking up where Glenn Nicholls left off, after serving the university for more than 26 years.

“My goal is to build upon the terrific tenure of Glenn Nicholls and to take programs and services to the next level,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of being deliberate in an attempt to provide a rich, comprehensive education for students.

Stark begins his work as the university continues to strengthen the quality and selectivity of its entering undergraduate classes. He also will play a significant role in implementing the next university-wide strategic plan.

“The strategic plan is now in place for coordinated efforts to help further the university’s mission,” he said. “It is important that we work to integrate the academic mission of the university both in and out of the classroom.”

Although Stark has only been in Cleveland for just more than two weeks, he has already explored Little Italy and Progressive Field to take in an Indians game, and he is excited to attend a Browns game or two during the upcoming season.

Learn more about Stark in this week’s five questions.

1. If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be and why?
I would like to be a member of Congress. I‘d attempt to sit down with leadership and use my skills of moderation and negotiation to get actual work done and see meaningful progress.

2. What’s your favorite activity to do in Cleveland?
I’ve really enjoyed eating in Little Italy, specifically Mama Santa’s.

3. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Procrastination—by both myself and others. I like to move forward and get things going.

4. What is the best class you’ve ever taken—from elementary school through higher education—and what skills or lessons did you learn that you still use today?
The best class I’ve ever taken is American Political Systems at Davis & Elkins College as an undergrad. Often, people use politics as a negative term, but politics are present in almost any setting. I learned lessons in that class that are applicable when dealing with my job, family, etc.

5. What is your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
Two things: Case Western Reserve University’s beautiful urban campus and how friendly everyone has been in welcoming me and helping me adjust to my new position.