VOL. 132 | NO. 172 | Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Rhodes’ Wigginton Shaping Campus Culture in New Role
By Kate Simone
Rhodes College has appointed Russell Wigginton vice president of student life and dean of students. In his newly created role, he will provide leadership for student success and help shape the campus culture for a diverse and inclusive student body.
Wigginton, who is a Rhodes alumnus himself, previously served as vice president of external programs at the college. Before that, he was vice president for college relations and special assistant to the president for community relations. He taught in Rhodes’ history department from 1996 to 2004.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Experience: Twenty-one years working at Rhodes, serving as a history professor initially and moving into senior administration in 2003. Doctorate in history from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; B.A. in history from Rhodes College; prior to graduate school, five years in sales and marketing at Oscar Mayer Foods.
What talent do you wish you had? I wish I could play an instrument. Music, and the arts in general, inspire me to see the good in people.
Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? I am inspired by many people, but Whitney Young, former national executive director of the Urban League, has influenced me from an early age. His unique ability to inspire businesses and corporations to invest in communities and people of color was integral to the civil rights progress in the 1970s.
You’re moving into a newly created position at Rhodes. What areas fall under your purview? My position captures much of the student experiences beyond the traditional learning that happens in the classroom. Areas include student leadership programs, student activities, first-year program, multicultural affairs, residential life, athletics and recreation, campus safety, counseling and the health center, Greek life, career services, the Kinney volunteer program, chaplain’s office and judicial systems, and the Learning Corridor, which is the college’s partnerships with nearby neighborhoods.
Why was this new role created, and what are your goals as you get started? The role was redesigned to make more explicit connections for the comprehensive student experience and better complement their academic work. I have three overarching goals: engage current students, parents and families as if they are already part of our alumni community; support the academic program and intersect the curricular and co-curricular student experience in meaningful ways; and assess our programs and adjust accordingly to ensure every student has the opportunity to take full advantage of the exceptional education we provide at Rhodes.
How do student life connections complement what Rhodes students learn in the classroom? As a residential liberal arts college, it is imperative that students’ learning opportunities in and out of the classroom are seamless. How they grow intellectually and civically become the foundation for how they will live their lives and contribute to the world.
You’re a 1988 Rhodes alumnus, so you have firsthand experience in student life there. What’s changed for students since your undergraduate days, and what’s stayed the same? The primary change that I observe is the manner in which students communicate among themselves and with others. What has stayed the same is the remarkable investment faculty and staff make in the lives of students and the college’s values of truth, loyalty and service.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Having the courage to follow my own personal and professional path, however unconventional it may have appeared to others throughout the process.
What do you most enjoy about your work? The opportunity to build special relationships with people across a wide spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives on a daily basis.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Maintain an open mind about what life has in store for you, and always see the good in people that you encounter on your journey.
Paragon Bank has appointed Sanjay Dave as assistant vice president, banking center manager and security. Dave has been with Paragon for almost two years, previously serving as financial services associate and personal banker. In his new role, he is responsible for managing the Saddle Creek Banking Center, business development, providing solutions for current and prospective customers, investigating fraud and educating staff and customers on security best practices.
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Youth Villages CEO Patrick W. Lawler has been included in The NonProfit Times’ 2017 Power & Influence Top 50. Chosen by a committee of NonProfit Times staff, contributors and executives, those included on the list must have had a significant impact during the previous 12 months. Lawler, who is the only nonprofit executive from Tennessee on the 2017 list, was chosen primarily for his work in developing the organization’s continuum of research-based programs that range from in-home services to intensive residential centers.
The Shelby County Election Commission has promoted Genine Taylor to manager of voter and candidate services and Carla Lytle to election operations manager.
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Memphis-based Klinke Brothers Ice Cream Co. has been named the 2016 Baskin-Robbins Developer of the Year by Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. The award is given annually to a franchisee that excels in all areas of building the brand and opening Baskin-Robbins restaurants. Klinke either owns or sub-franchises 180 Baskin-Robbins locations, with eight more in the development pipeline for 2017.