Dr. Joseph Oravecz named UNK Dean of Student Affairs

Dr. Charlie Bicak
senior vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, 308.865.8209

NOTE TO MEDIA: Oravecz is pronounced: Oar’-ah-vek 

UNK- Dr. Joseph Oravecz of Bowling Green, Ohio, has been named the new dean of Student Affairs at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The appointment is effective Aug. 1, pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.The announcement was made today by Dr. Charlie Bicak, UNK senior vice chancellor for Academic/Student Affairs.

In making the announcement, Dr. Bicak said: “We are pleased that Dr. Oravecz has accepted our invitation to join UNK Student Affairs programs as dean of Student Affairs. He brings more than 20 years experience in every aspect of student life leadership on several campuses. Especially noteworthy is his passion for integrating the students’ living experiences with their academic life through residential learning communities.

“Dr. Oravecz will be a tremendous asset to our students and faculty. I am looking forward to working with him in coming years, even as we salute Dr. Gail Zeller for serving as the interim dean of student affairs during a time of important transition. Her leadership achievements have set the stage for the next phase of successful Student Affairs programs at UNK under Dr. Oravecz.”

Dr. Oravecz comes to the UNK campus from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University (BGSU) where he has served as associate vice president for Student Affairs. During his tenure at BGSU, a campus of approximately 18,000 students, Dr. Oravecz oversaw the Office of the Dean of Students, which included the Office of Campus Activities, Orientation and First Year Programs, Parent and Family Programs, Spirit Groups, Commuter Programs and Student Discipline. He also supervised the Office of Residence Life (5,600 residents, as well as Greek life — 43 chapters), University Dining Services, the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Career Services, Student Publications, coordination of seven commencement ceremonies annually. In addition, he was responsible for divisional strategic planning and assessment.

He also served on a number of key campus committees including the BGSU committee that was charged to redesign general education at the university. The campus is currently evaluating the undergraduate core curriculum to connect with the undergraduate experience.

In accepting the position, Dr. Oravecz said: “When visiting UNK, I was greatly impressed with the energy and genuineness exhibited by the students, faculty and staff, and the commitment towards enhancing the mission of a residential learning community. I am very excited to be joining UNK at this time in its history.

Dr. Ed Whipple, BGSU vice president for Student Affairs, said: “While this is a great professional move for Dr. Oravecz, we will miss him greatly at BGSU. He has made significant contributions in the areas of student life, strategic planning, assessment and partnerships with academic affairs. I have appreciated his engagement with students and his commitment to their success. We wish him all the best at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.”

Before joining the BGSU staff, Dr. Oravecz served as the chief student affairs officer and dean of students at the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut). He has also served as the associate dean of students at Syracuse University; the director of Student Activities, Organizations and Leadership at Salisbury (Maryland) University; assistant director of student life at Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant); hall director and interim director of Residence Life at Ohio Dominican University (Columbus); and as the assistant director of International Student Admissions at Mount Ida College in Newton Centre, Mass.

Dr. Oravecz holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) College; a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University (Columbus); and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Florida State University (Tallahassee).