SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday morning, Roanoke College announced that the Board of Trustees has appointed Frank Shushok Jr., Ph.D. — the current vice president for student affairs at Virginia Tech — as the 12th president of the Salem college.
Shushok is set to replace Michael C. Maxey, who is retiring in July after serving Roanoke College as president since 2007 and in various other roles since 1985.
“I am thrilled to welcome President Elect Frank Shushok to the Maroon family,” Maxey said. “Terri and I found Frank and his wife, Kelly, to be a dedicated couple who are excited about the Roanoke College community. What struck me about Frank is how engaging he is and how interested he is in getting to know others. He and Kelly will fit right in at Roanoke College. His commitment to enriching the Roanoke community is clear. The College is in good hands with Dr. Shushok.”
According to Roanoke College officials, Shushok has 30 years of work experience in higher education, with the past 13 being at Virginia Tech in posts like associate vice president, senior associate vice president, vice president for student affairs, and tenured associate professor of Agricultural Leadership & Community Education.
“Throughout the Presidential search, Dr. Shushok inspired us with his spirit, energy and centered dedication to student learning,” said Malon Courts, chairman of the Roanoke College Board of Trustees and a 1992 Roanoke College graduate. “Dr. Shushok’s background aligns with the most important needs of the College, and he understands the value of who we are, our culture, people and traditions, including the importance of our rich Lutheran heritage. He will propel us forward, embracing innovation while respecting history and tradition to make Roanoke College an even greater institution.”
According to Shushok, he was drawn to Roanoke College for the cherished convictions held by the institution, saying, “Roanoke College is a beautiful community deeply committed to students and their holistic learning. Everywhere at Roanoke College, there are structures and individuals committed to a kind of deep learning that emboldens the human spirit, strengthens public discourse, and becomes a true north for what matters most. I admired this community the moment I discovered it, and I am honored to join the faculty and staff in pursuit of such a worthy calling. I am humbled by the Board of Trustees’ faith in me to contribute to this legacy that has been in motion since 1842.”
As Virginia Tech’s vice president for student affairs, Shushok provides overall leadership for one of the nation’s largest student affairs divisions. He directs 25 departments and units, leads the maintenance and renovation of more than 30 percent of Virginia Tech’s physical campus, is a member of the president’s cabinet, and serves on many other boards and organizations at the Blacksburg university.
“As a national thought leader in residential education and student well-being, Virginia Tech has been fortunate to have Frank Shushok as our vice president for student affairs,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “He exemplifies the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), and that will be a great benefit to the faculty, staff, and students of Roanoke College. We appreciate his dedicated service, and while he will be greatly missed at Virginia Tech, higher education in the Commonwealth has gained a talented new leader and we wish him all the best.”
“There are simply no words to capture the impact that the Virginia Tech community has had on my life and on my family,” Shushok said. “The sense of purpose, care for humanity, and pursuit of goodness that I found at Virginia Tech are etched on my heart and will travel with me to Roanoke College.”
Before working at Virginia Tech, Shushok served at his alma mater, Baylor University, in several capacities, including dean for student learning and engagement, as well as associate dean for Campus Living and Learning. During his time at both Baylor and Virginia Tech, Shushok also authored and co-authored multiple in-depth studies, helped bring in millions of dollars in gifts, and led a reorganization that addressed the systemic pattern of residence hall racial segregation.
In addition, Shushok was named a Fellow of the American Council on Education and took up residency at Wake Forest University in 2017, where he focused on fundraising, alumni engagement and enrollment strategy.
“Frank Shushok is inquisitive, a great listener, and thinks creatively about educating the whole person, linking the academic life of students to their entire collegiate experience,” said Nathan O. Hatch, president emeritus of Wake Forest University. “I can think of no one better to lead Roanoke College in their aim to help students build lives of meaning and purpose.”
Shushok has a B.S. in history from Baylor University; an M.A. in higher education and student affairs administration from Ohio State University; and a Ph.D. in higher education policy, planning and analysis from the University of Maryland in College Park.
The Roanoke College Board of Trustees’ unanimous vote to confirm Shushok on Monday, March 21 follows a five-month nationwide search conducted by a search committee of trustees, faculty, staff and students, which produced a pool of more than 100 applicants.
“When I learned about Dr. Shushok’s commitment to excellent education for students from diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, and his approach to student learning and campus experiences, it became clear to me that he would be an inspiring leader for Roanoke College,” said Dr. Shannon Anderson, associate professor of sociology, faculty moderator, and member of the Presidential Search Committee. “I believe his engaging and collaborative leadership style will amplify what we do best as a liberal arts college: we help students discover their academic interests and gifts, guide them with our institutional focus on finding purpose, and then watch as they launch into lives with meaning.”
“I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Frank Shushok, Jr. as the next president of Roanoke College. Dr. Shushok exhibits passion for the liberal arts, total commitment to student success and the student experience, and a sincere desire to create an inclusive and diverse community in which all members can envision themselves as a part,” Elizabeth G. McClenney, director of the library and member of the Presidential Search Committee, said.
“I think that students will immediately be able to connect with President Elect Shushok and feel his excitement to be a part of our Roanoke community,” said Emily Norton ‘22, former SGA president at the college and the student representative on the Presidential Search Committee. “I, for one, look forward to working with him and continuing to get to know him as he steps into the presidency. He’s the kind of person you would want to hang out with at Mac and Bob’s, and someone who has a lot of knowledge to share.”
Shushok and his wife, Kelly — who has served more than 20 years in ministry, most recently as a pastor at a progressive United Methodist community known as “edges” in Blacksburg — are high school sweethearts who have been married for 30 years.
Together, they have three children: Brayden, 22, who is employed at Morgan Stanley and 2021 graduate of Virginia Tech; Christian, 20, a sophomore at Sewanee; and Ivy Anne, 17, a junior at Blacksburg High School. The Shushok family will also comes to Roanoke College with a lovable and excited pup named Maple.
“I feel deeply connected to Southwest Virginia and the New River and Roanoke valleys,” Shushok said. “A robust, diverse, and thriving higher-education ecosystem is vital to our region’s flourishing. While Virginia Tech and Roanoke College each represent a distinct expression of our higher education ideals, they share a commitment to launch into the world graduates who are ready to tackle big problems, pose important questions, and strengthen our collective well-being.”
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech says an interim vice president for student affairs will be announced in the near future, along with plans to recruit Shushok’s successor.