UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Chancellor Maria Gallo accepts the NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Region IV-East President's Award from Bernard Little, regional director for NASPA Region IV-E.
Nov. 28, 2022 - University of Wisconsin-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo was recently awarded the NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Region IV-East President’s Award. The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) is a member-centered association supporting a diverse and passionate network of 15,000 professionals and 1,200 institutions across the globe.
“Having been a first-generation college student myself, I know firsthand how high-quality student affairs staff and authentically student-centered support initiatives can truly make or break a student’s success,” said Gallo. “That’s why it was my number one priority within the first six months of my UWRF chancellorship to hear directly from our students on what they experience and need from our institution.”
The President’s Award is given to a chancellor or president in Region IV-East who has advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and initiatives. Recipients must show evidence of direct involvement in enhancing student life, active efforts to involve students and student life staff in governing the institution and demonstrating contributions to student affairs beyond just an individual campus.
“Time and time again, in public and in private, Chancellor Gallo has lived and worked to make the goal of putting students at the center of the university a reality,” said Tess Barker, NASPA Region IV-E Awards and Innovation coordinator. “Her nominators were unwavering and effusive in their praise of Chancellor Gallo’s support for staff in student affairs and across the institution.”
“Our chancellor is the embodiment of what it means to have a university leader truly focused on the diverse needs and experiences of all students,” said Jamie Zamjahn, assistant chancellor for student success. “But it’s not just our students who feel supported, it’s our student affairs staff too! We know we have a true champion in Chancellor Gallo.”
Gallo’s development of UWRF’s Dean of Students Office and position is just one example of her commitment to turning student feedback into tangible and accountable supports. The office was created following her fall 2021 Listening and Learning Tour where she engaged students and other stakeholders on what makes UW-River Falls great and how to make it even better.
“During the tour, I clearly heard that all learners, not only our traditional residential undergraduates, should be supported and communicated to on a more regular basis,” said Gallo. “The creation of our Dean of Students Office was a natural first step in making sure students receive the support, resources, and tools they need for their unique needs.”
In addition to Gallo’s award, UWRF Senior Bridgette Ledford was awarded the Undergraduate Student Rising Star Award. As one of just two undergraduates awarded the prestigious honor, Ledford was celebrated for her inclusive and positive student leadership on mental health issues, DEI work, and academic advising.
“I am incredibly proud to have the honor of working alongside UWRF’s incredibly talented staff and faculty,” said Gallo. “This award today is truly a reflection of the dedication of the whole UWRF community to help all of our UWRF Falcons to be successful not only in college but in their future pursuits.”
UWRF senior Bridgette Ledferd accepts the Undergraduate Student Rising Star Award from Bernard Little, regional director for NASPA Region IV-E.