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Loyola University New Orleans Vice President Wins National Award

Loyola press release - March 20, 2016

Loyola Vice President of Student Affairs and Associate Provost Dr. M.L. “Cissy” Petty Wins JASPA’s Top Honor

A top administrator at Loyola University of New Orleans received a national award this week for her leadership and service to students. The Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA) on Saturday awarded Vice President of Student Affairs and Associate Provost Dr. M.L. “Cissy” Petty the Reverend Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Award, its most prestigious honor. The esteemed honor recognizes Dr. Petty’s outstanding leadership, character and commitment to Jesuit higher education and the importance of centering Ignatian spirituality in Student Affairs work.

“Cissy is so deserving of the Victor Yanitelli, S.J. award. She is a servant-leader, mentor and advocate for Jesuit student affairs. She dreams big and helps others imagine a better future. It is with this lens that she helped JASPA reimagine itself as an open, inclusive organization,” said Jeanne Rosenberger, vice provost for student life and dean of students at Santa Clara University. “A staunch supporter of students, Cissy is an optimistic and positive individual, dedicated to the notion that every person is fundamentally good and that every individual is capable of learning.”

Rosenberger and Fordham University Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Jeffrey Gray presented Dr. Petty her award at JASPA’s annual conference. JASPA 2016: Stand Together took place Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind.

Founded in 1954, JASPA includes student affairs leaders from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. To celebrate its 25th anniversary in 1979, the association initiated an annual award for outstanding service in the area of student life in Jesuit higher education. The award was named in honor of its first recipient, Reverend Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J., beloved for his service to others.

The Yanitelli Award recognizes outstanding service to student affairs work in Jesuit and Catholic higher education, distinguished by a long-term commitment and support of Jesuit values to the campus, the profession, and the association. The award winner is a person who may be fairly characterized as the servant/leader, in the tradition of Fr. Yanitelli. The award is given annually, though it is not necessary to determine a recipient every year.

Dr. Petty began her tenure at Loyola in July 2006 and has “embraced Jesuit higher education―as a spokesperson and a leader, in ways that serve as a model to others,” Gray said. “Her care for the New Orleans community, as well as the students, faculty and staff across the 28 Jesuit American universities whom she encounters, embody the very essence of the Jesuit ideals of ‘Cura Personalis’ and ‘Women and Men for Others.’ Her work on and off campus showcases her dedication to students and commitment to her community.”

Over the last six years, Dr. Petty has served as a regional vice president, vice president/president elect, president and past president of JASPA. During her presidency, she involved all 28 institutions in a strategic planning process that resulted in a reimagining of JASPA’s leadership model and annual conference. The new leadership model invites participation from all institutions at all levels, and the conference program is deeply rooted in social justice. These changes have resulted in JASPA establishing itself as the premier Catholic student affairs association in the nation.

Petty served as JASPA’s president through 2014, and her involvement did not stop when her term ended. As immediate past president, Petty continued to serve JASPA, serving on the association’s Executive Board and providing ‘Mission Moments’ in the monthly newsletter. She has raised tens of thousands of dollars in sponsorship for JASPA programs, allowing JASPA to offer quality programs while maintaining reasonable registration fees.

“This work was entirely inspired by Cissy’s dedication and vision, her boundless energy and enthusiasm, and her commitment to excellence, and would not have been accomplished without her,” Gray said. “Cissy is indeed an example of all that is right with higher education and student affairs leadership.”