Frank Shushok, Virginia Tech’s senior associate vice president, will take on Patty Perillo’s role of vice president of student affairs starting January 2020 as she leaves to take over the same position at the University of Maryland.
Perillo has been a part of the Virginia Tech community since 2012. She described how she was drawn to the strong sense of community and how she hopes to translate her experience from here to her new position.
“I will go into this vice presidency with seven years of knowing what it means to be a vice president,” Perillo said. “When you lead with love, people feel valued and like they belong.”
Moreover, she said Virginia Tech has felt like a part of her and that she will miss the “deeply connected community and the ways (in which) we are called to serve in some way.”
Shushok joined the Virginia Tech community in 2009, starting as associate vice president for student affairs from his previous position as dean for student learning and engagement at Baylor University.
“I had the opportunity in a hands-on way to work with a lot of different things at Virginia Tech and understand the complexity of the student experience,” he said.
In his time at Virginia Tech, Shushok supervised units on campus such as Housing and Residence Life, Dining Services, Student Conduct, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Cranwell International Center, Dean of Students Center, as well as worked with Town Gown Initiatives.
“It's very difficult to do the work I do and not understand the complexity of what students face on a college campus today,” Shushok said. “You always have to be asking students about what they’re experiencing, where are the places we can do better, what are the things we can do to bolden their learning experience, what opportunities we need to provide them.”
Shushok hopes to retain the student experience at Virginia Tech while continuing to build a culture of inclusion.
“At a big place like Virginia Tech we need to do everything we can to nurture relationships, a sense of belonging, a sense that this is everyone's Virginia Tech, helping others feel known by others,” he said. “I see this interim role I have (as a way) to see that we do not miss a moment, lose any ground and miss an opportunity to ensure that we have the best student experience possible at Virginia Tech.”
Perillo will remain at Virginia Tech through November, as Shushok becomes the acting vice president.
“I am really grateful for all of Virginia Tech’s part of my journey. This will always be a chapter in my life that has mattered a lot, so I’m just grateful.” Perillo said. “And I know that once a Hokie, you're always a Hokie, so this will always be a place I come back to. Once you’re connected to something like this, you want to stay connected to something like this.”