Spotlight on the new Vice President for Student Life: Melissa Shivers, PhD

As we head into a new year and decade, a new leader will join us in The Ohio State University Office of Student Life. Melissa Shivers, PhD, will join us on January 6, 2020, as our Vice President for Student Life. We asked a couple of questions to help Buckeye Nation get to know her better.

What is your family like?
If you want me to smile, ask me about these amazing humans. I grew up with one sister, Heather, who is three years younger, and my mom, Sue, who I affectionately refer to as “Suzy Q.” These two folks are why I am who I am and keep me grounded in every single way. My grandparents, Sam and Irene, were major influences in my life, as well.

My two favorite humans are my nephews, Jhared (14) and Jordan (12). They are smart, kind and have some of the biggest hearts in the world. They are my best traveling buddies, biggest cheerleaders and can talk sports with the best of them.

What are your hobbies?
I love to read — I read absolutely everything! This summer while on vacation, I took five books and completed all of them. Reading gives me joy and a sense of calm. I also love consignment shopping, walking and spending time with my family and friends.

What is your favorite quote?
There is never anyone you couldn’t love once you know their story. — Mr. Rogers

What sports do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy watching football, college football, in particular. I spend Saturdays in the fall either in a stadium or watching college football on television, beginning with College GameDay going late into the evening. I also have the NFL Network so I can watch several games at once


Favorite travel destination: Cabo
Favorite musician: Prince
Favorite type of music: R&B
Favorite book: The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata
Walk-up song: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” Whitney Houston
Famous person you would most like to meet: Michelle Obama

What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?
Finishing my PhD. As a first-generation college graduate, I never imagined I could earn a PhD. Thanks to some amazing advisors, friends, colleagues and the work ethic of my mother, I successfully navigated one of the most challenging experiences of my life.

What are you passionate about?
Removing barriers to student and staff success, serving the communities in which I live and contributing to the world in ways that helps to ensure the health, safety and security of others.

What do you view as the biggest opportunity to influence change?
Finding common ground and minimizing the differences. As someone who is joining the Buckeye community from the “outside”, I believe that in order to build trust and continue the incredible success at Ohio State, it will be important to emphasize my desire to work alongside while also providing the leadership needed to continue and enhance the great work underway. I believe in innovation and taking risks, as the communities that we serve are expecting us to be leaders and innovators.

What inspires you about Student Life and the role we play at the university?
Our role in shaping and creating an extraordinary student experience is a pillar for Student Life at Ohio State. I am inspired by the passion and commitment of this team to consistently think about the student experience and demonstrate their influence on student success. I fully believe that students’ success is embedded in their health, safety and well-being. Our role in partnering with campus and community partners to shape those successes is exciting!

What Buckeye tradition are you most excited about?
I am learning the words to ‘Carmen Ohio’ and cannot wait to join with other Buckeyes in singing together! I believe an institution’s alma mater best depicts the values and heart of the institution. It is the common language and unifier of our newest Buckeyes to those who walked the halls and campus many years ago.

We are looking forward to Dr. Shivers arrival in January and hope you join us in welcoming her to Ohio State!

Student Life at Ohio State

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