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Mena serves as associate vp, dean of students

Following a national search this spring, Lamar University has named Terry Mena associate vice president and dean of students for Lamar’s Division of Student Engagement.

Mena assumed his position at Lamar in July. He is now in charge of various duties in the division, including the management of student activities and civic engagement. He also serves as the student code of conduct officer and student ombudsman. 

Terry Mena“I seek to provide the departments under me the guidance, the vision, and the foresight to grasp where the department is going to grow, and providing programs, services, and resources to students at Lamar,” Mena said. “My goal is to make sure we as a division are in line with the university plan, specifically through increasing student engagement at Lamar University.”

Mena hopes to foster a greater culture of student involvement and leadership at Lamar University in his new role in the Division of Student Engagement.

“I am most passionate about providing opportunities for students to get to know who they are, and helping them find a place where they can excel. Whether it’s through on-campus leadership opportunities, volunteerism, co-ops, internships, or whatever else; helping students get connected in that way is very important,” Mena said.

Additionally, Mena will oversee Student Organization Services until a nationwide search is completed to fill the spot after Mrs. Valerie Daniels’ retirement in August. He can be found in the Setzer Center administrative office.

Mena holds a Ph.D. in education from Florida Atlantic University, where he concentrated in higher education leadership. He has an M.A. in student personnel administration from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University, and a B.S. in criminal justice from Northeastern University in Boston.

Mena currently stands as the co-chair for the Latino Knowledge Committee in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, an organization that seeks to empower the student affairs community. He is also the Native American Chair for the American College Personnel Association, which aims to advance educators’ careers and their students’ success. Along with this, Mena has presented on a national level about a host of topics including Latino community concerns, Native American historical and cultural connections, community building, meditation, and student code of conduct and processes.

“Being able to meet with students and having a more personalized conversation about who they are, what walk of life they came from or are currently in, and what their aspirations are or where they see themselves in the future—that is the most rewarding part of my job,” Mena said.

Prior to joining Lamar, Mena served as the associate dean of students at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He boasts a wide variety of accomplishments from his time at Florida Atlantic in campus life and student activities, including multi-cultural affairs, campus recreation, student leadership and Greek life. Under Mena, there was a noted increase of fraternity and sorority chapters. He held the role of chief student conduct officer there as well.

“Lamar is at a very exciting time,” Mena said. “Coming from a school that was very similar to where Lamar is now, and being part of great growth there, I felt I could continue doing that here. I like to refer to myself as a builder. And being able to develop and build experiences for students now and into the future is very important to me.”

At Florida Atlantic, he served as associate director of student affairs, 2003-2007, and as university housing and residence life coordinator, 2000-2003. 

Before joining Florida Atlantic in 2000, Mena worked at his alma mater Northeastern University, serving as the associate director of the Latino Student Cultural Center from 1998 after having served as resident coordinator for a year.