Praised for engagement, advocacy and impact on campus life

After nearly three decades leading university student affairs divisions, Lou Stark announced today that he will retire as Case Western Reserve’s vice president of student affairs June 30, 2023.

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to be part of this campus community and work with so many extraordinary young people,” Stark said. “But I’m now ready to explore other opportunities to contribute.”

Stark joined Case Western Reserve in the summer of 2013—a year before the opening of the Tinkham Veale University Center and Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center, and two years before the completion of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Residence Hall. 

Among other accomplishments, his tenure saw the launch of the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative, dramatic gains in competitive and academic success of varsity athletes, and the integration of the university’s health and counseling units—which previously had been entirely separate.

“Lou’s commitment to our students is evident in the structures and programs he developed,” President Eric W. Kaler said, “as well as his clear enthusiasm whenever interacting with them. I am deeply grateful for his leadership.”

A Long Island native, Stark began his career at the University of Rochester, and then spent time at Washington University in St. Louis. It was at Tulane University that he met his wife, Ann, and the couple went on to move to Iowa to be closer to family. During that time, Stark spent four years as vice president at Central College and then 16 years in the same role at Coe College. 

When he accepted the position at Case Western Reserve, Stark noted that part of its appeal was the opportunity to return to a campus that is part of the American Association of Universities (AAU), which includes the nation’s leading research institutions. Stark hosted AAU student affairs leaders on campus in 2016; he also served on the NCAA’s Division III Management Council.

In 2018 Lou’s son, Will, earned his undergraduate degree at Weatherhead School of Management; two years later his daughter, Liz, received her JD from CWRU’s law school.

Kaler said the university will launch a national search for Stark’s successor; additional information about that process will be shared later this semester.

Students, alumni respond to news of Lou Stark’s upcoming retirement:

Ananya Hari, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president:

“I am really sad to see Lou go but I wish him all the best with his retirement. I have worked with Lou since my first year in USG and he has always been my favorite administrator to work with. We are all very excited to see who takes on this position next as they certainly have some very big shoes to fill.”

Mikhail Goldenberg, USG vice president for student life:

“I have had the pleasure of working with VP Lou Stark this past year as part of the Student Life Committee. VP Stark has always advocated and put students first. I am overjoyed to get to work with him as USG’s VP for student life this year and wish him well in his retirement.”

Clarence ‘Tre’ Armstrong (CWR ’21), master’s student and co-founder of BLAC (Black Latinx Athlete Coalition)

“Lou is one of the most down-to-earth and genuine people I have come across in my time here at CWRU. I always look forward to seeing him at events and he always makes time to ask me about my life and endeavors. It has been a pleasure to have been a student during his tenure as the VP of student affairs.”

Anna Miller, PhD student and former Graduate Student Council president 

“It was a pleasure working with VP Lou Stark. His passion for students, especially graduate and professional students, is infectious and was a vital part of my success as a leader.”