MUNCIE, INDIANA.--- Bookshelves are nearly emptied, and there’s nothing but the essentials left on her desk.
Provost and Executive Vice President for academic affairs Susana Rivera-Mills is wrapping up her final week at Ball State, where she’s spent the last five years overseeing all academic details for the university.
“You know, it’s interesting. In some ways, I feel like I just got here, and then when you think about the pandemic and everything that we’ve been through as a campus and as a campus, it feels like I've been here for 10 years,” Rivera-Mills said. “But, my time here has been incredibly rewarding. I have enjoyed my time both on campus but also getting to know the community, and I’ve just met lots of wonderful people, and I’ve really enjoyed that.”
One of her fondest memories at Ball State is the 2018 Muncie Community School partnership. “That’s one of the things I’m going to take away with me, for sure.”
The atmosphere she creates in the office is inviting, and she has earned nothing but respect from her co-workers.
“It’s been a great environment,” Angie Zahner, Executive Assistant to the Provost said. “We’ve had a really good time. We’ve actually gotten a lot of work done. It’s a high paced office, but she made it very enjoyable. We’ve really enjoyed her, and we’re going to miss her.”
After leaving Ball State, the Vice President will assume her new position as President of Aurora University in Illinois. She’ll be making history as the first Latina president of the private school.
“I have an almost 30 year career, and everytime I have taken a position, the word ‘first’ has always appeared before my title, before my name, before the work that I do. So, I see it in two ways,” Rivera-Mills said.
One perspective is that this position allows her to represent others who do not have the opportunity to. On the other hand, this means that there is still room to grow until it is common.
“I look forward to the day when people can take these positions of leadership, where the word ‘first’ won’t go before their title,” Rivera-Mills said.
Rivera-Mills’ final day is this Friday, March 31. Taking Rivera-Mills’ place as Interim provost will be Dean of Teachers’ College Anand Marri.
Contact Olivia Sloniker at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.