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Meningall tapped as VP at University of South Florida, Tampa

APSU Vice President for Student Affairs Jennifer Meningall, who was nominated for the position of vice president for student affairs at the University of South Florida, has accepted the appointment, effective July 1.

My time at Austin Peay has been a great experience for me, both as an administrator and as an African-American woman, Meningall said. But this kind of offer doesnt come around often. The vice presidency at the University of South Florida is a personal and professional opportunity I could not turn down.
APSU Vice President for Student Affairs Jennifer Meningall, who was nominated for the position of vice president for student affairs at the University of South Florida, has accepted the appointment, effective July 1.

“My time at Austin Peay has been a great experience for me, both as an administrator and as an African-American woman,” Meningall said. “But this kind of offer doesn't come around often. The vice presidency at the University of South Florida is a personal and professional opportunity I could not turn down.”

Located in the scenic Tampa Bay area, the University of South Florida is an urban, Research I Level university with an enrollment of 42,000 students. In addition to a large undergraduate population, the school offers several master's and doctoral degrees.

“I love Clarksville, but I'm a city girl,” Meningall said. “Moving back to a large city was a plus. More important to me, however, is that, besides my administrative work, I will be able to teach at the doctoral level within my area of higher education administration.”

Meningall came to APSU in August 1998 as vice president for student affairs. She was director of the large Lincolnville campus of Gaston College in New York from 1996-98 and had served in a variety of administrative positions in state, private and community colleges for 18 years.

She earned a bachelor's degree in political studies and communication from Adelphi University, a master's in counseling and human development from Long Island University and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Organization and Leadership from Columbia University. She also is a graduate of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Millennium Institute, designed for prospective university chancellors and presidents.

Dr. Sherry Hoppe, president of APSU, said, “Dr. Meningall is the most knowledgeable student affairs officer I've ever known. As a member of my executive team, she has always been an extremely strong advocate for our students, and her voice will be sorely missed.

“However, she has earned this wonderful career opportunity, and I am pleased and proud for her. The University of South Florida clearly recognized her strength and her ability, and I offer my best wishes as she begins this new phase of a career.”

When asked about her many accomplishments, Meningall attributes any achievements in the Division of Student Affairs to “teamwork by a strong divisional staff that I inherited.” The division is comprised of 60 staff members, including 11 directors who report to her.

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Barbara Phillips will miss Meningall greatly. Phillips said, “Jennifer's leadership in the Division of Student Affairs has challenged each staff member to perform at the highest level possible. And she communicates such expectations by personal example. Her ultimate goal for students is to empower them to reach their fullest potential. She has a never-ending commitment to students, serving as their advocate in every venue possible.”

One APSU student speaks for most. Toya Richardson, Memphis, a graduate student in Student Affairs, said, “Dr. Meningall has touched many lives, probably more than she realizes. She has invited students, not only into her office, but into her home. Not many people would do that. And not many students can say they worked closely with a vice presidentand loved it.”

Reflecting on her seven years as APSU, Meningall takes greatest pride in helping turn campus life around and also in being able to document student learning outside the classroom, through increased leadership opportunities, participation in student events, etc.

“When I got here in 1998, there was an obvious lack of trust and a deep frustration among students, staff and faculty,” Meningall said. “The University today has a renewed energy and vibrancy. It's great to talk with students who chose to come here and who still are excited and pleased with that decision.”

The construction of the new, first-class Morgan University Center was a milestone for Meningall, as was the vote by students for a fee increase to fund a new recreation center. She also talks about the new and unique Hand Village housing complex for students. “We've accomplished so much for our students, but I can think of a million things still to do, such as refurbishing old residence halls and building new ones. And all of that will come.”

The other two vice presidents have nothing but praise for Meningall. Vice President for Finance and Administration Mitch Robinson said, “I most admire her dedication and tenacious ability for doing what's right and not what's popular to support our students and the University. Picking out Jennifer's most notable contribution is difficult, but the first one that comes to mind is how she redefined the connection between student and academic affairs. There is now a cooperative effort to look at ways to enhance student learning both inside and outside the classroom.”

Dr. Bruce Speck, vice president for academic affairs, echoed some of the same sentiments. “Jennifer has been a team player, working well with Academic Affairs to promote a holistic view of students' development.”

Meningall and her husband, Seth, who works for Greyhound Lines, will move this summer.
—Dennie Burke