A Fond Farewell to CWRU’s VP of Student Affairs

Headshot of Lou StarkLou Stark

Lou Stark, Case Western Reserve University’s beloved vice president of student affairs, knows what he’ll miss most after he retires in June: Cheering on students—whether it’s the women’s soccer team and men’s basketball team competing in recent NCAA Division III championship tournaments or those who launched the Undergraduate Diversity Council with his support. The affection is mutual. The Case Western Reserve Observer student newspaper recently described Stark as “someone who treats his job like his family.”

As he prepares to depart after 10 years on campus—and three decades at seven universities—he spoke with Think about his work and offered a bit of advice for his successor: “Enjoy it.”

Proudest CWRU achievements?

Integrating student health and counseling to really create a student-health system that focuses on the whole student. And our success in intercollegiate athletics. We hired two fabulous athletic directors. Before that we weren’t even competitive. Now, we’re regularly making it to national playoffs and NCAA tournaments.

How have students changed during your career?

Students are more focused on outcomes. I’ve seen an increase in civic engagement. And they have a greater expectation of more services the university can provide. Do CWRU students stand out? Oh, yeah, they’re exceptionally bright and creative, from trying new things to [business] startups. And I’ve never worked with a group of students who were so appreciative of what we do. I get a lot of ‘thank-you’s’ here.

Advice for your successor?

Be willing to come in as a real leader. We have a fabulous staff, so I think things are in good shape. I’m excited to see whoever comes in take it to the next level.

Retirement plans?

I’ve taken a position as an executive search consultant. I’m going to the beach with [my wife] Ann and our adult kids and traveling to Portugal. I’m also planning to be more involved with my alma mater, Davis and Elkins College, and at our church.