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Loyola VP recognized among top 13 student affairs professionals in the nation

Loyola press release - March 17, 2014

Loyola University New Orleans administrator M.L. “Cissy” Petty, Ph.D., known for her outstanding ability to connect with students, is receiving a national higher education award in student affairs. The NASPA Foundation is recognizing Petty as one of only 13 distinguished student affairs professionals inducted into its Pillars of the Profession Class of 2014.

Petty, the vice president for student affairs and associate provost for academic affairs at Loyola, will receive the national award in a ceremony at the annual NASPA conference in Baltimore, Md., March 15-19.

The accolade from the national group of student affairs professionals in higher education acknowledges Petty’s body of work in the profession and her leadership in student affairs for more than 20 years. Before joining Loyola in 2006, Petty held senior student affairs positions at St. Lawrence University in New York, Mississippi University for Women and the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Petty also received the Ignatian Medal for Outstanding Service from the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators in March 2013 and has served as the president of the association since March 2012.

“The Loyola community is delighted that student affairs administrators nationwide have recognized Cissy as a standout in higher education. We join NASPA in celebrating her as a visionary leader, dedicated professional and inspiration to students, parents and her peers,” said Roberta Kaskel, Loyola’s interim vice president for enrollment management. “Loyola is most fortunate to have as vice president for student affairs an individual known to be among the best in the profession across the country. In her eight years with us, a time marked by post-Katrina rebuilding and renewal for both the city and the university, we experience the benefits of her talents as an inspirational agent of change.”

Her commitment to the Loyola campus and its students is evident in many ways, from choosing to move to campus when New Orleans is forced to “shelter in place” due to hurricanes or tropical storms to treating students informally every Friday for coffee. Petty approaches every decision in terms of how an action assists students to learn and grow, according to Kaskel.

“Her talent for meeting students where they are is apparent, as is her love of learning,” Levester Johnson, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs at Butler University in Indiana, said in nominating Petty for the award. “Utilizing social media to engage her student population and community is only one way she exemplifies meeting the students where they are.”

Petty has been sending out daily emails, DP’s Dailies, since 1998. An informal communication tool sent to students Monday through Friday, each day Petty selects a quote, poem, prayer or something that someone has sent her to share with others. Petty is also active on Twitter @cissypetty.

President Barack Obama also joined in congratulating Petty on the award, issuing a letter acknowledging the lifetime achievement and thanking Petty for her contributions to the student affairs profession.

For media interviews or high-resolution images, please contact Mikel Pak, Loyola associate director of public affairs.