Student Affairs in Higher Education Announces 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Posted on 2/27/2013 11:43:32 AM

Virginia KochThe Department of Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce Virginia Koch as the recipient of the Ronald Lunardini Distinguished Alumni Award for 2013.

Virginia is a 1986 graduate of SAHE (formerly the Student Personnel Services program) and is currently associate director of Residential Services at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and recently (2012) earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Loyola University Chicago.

Virginia started her professional career in student affairs in residence life at SUNY–College at Fredonia. In 1991, she moved to Evanston and began working at Northwestern in various capacities, including sorority affairs, new student programming, university relations, and eventually in residential life, where she has been promoted two times to the associate director position she now holds. Her contributions to the profession are highlighted by numerous national conference presentations, several publications, and many service activities for professional associations, including the Association of College and University Housing Officers–International, NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), the Association for Student Conduct Administration, and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors.

In one letter of nomination, the author describes the way Virginia fulfills her role on campus as “caring and focused.” The nominator continues, “She looks for ways to improve our services for students and parents, and is an excellent collaborator. She is a highly motivated individual with a strong sense of responsibility toward every task she undertakes. She is a composed, confident, and reliable individual who thrives on a challenge and exhibits a heartfelt commitment to all tasks presented to her.”

The award selection committee (comprised of faculty, students, and alumni), in their review of the nomination materials for Virginia, unanimously affirmed that she meets and exceeds the award criteria, particularly in the areas of promoting student success, collaborating with colleagues, embracing lifelong learning, and contributing to the profession. Comments from members of the selection committee include, “Through her professional employment, she showed an overall fostering of student development and an enhancement of student learning” and “I was particularly impressed by her publications, presentations, and continued professional development.”

The Ronald Lunardini Distinguished Alumni Award, begun in 2006, was created to acknowledge an alumnus of the SAHE department whose experiences and accomplishments as a student affairs professional significantly reflect the standards and values of the SPS program/SAHE department. In 2008, in recognition of Ron Lunardini’s 37 years of service to IUP (18 as a SAHE faculty member), the award title was changed to honor him. Previous recipients include (starting with most recent): Rhonda Gifford ’93, Colleen Ruefle ’89, Julie Elkins ’85, Kevin Bailey ’90, Becky Verzinski ’94, Peter Groenendyk ’94, and Bob Gatti ’78.