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Nina Caldwell, EdD, vice president for Student Life at Maryville University, has been selected as the Zenobia Hikes Memorial Award winner for outstanding commitment to the advancement of women in higher education and to student affairs, through mentoring and professional development. The honor is presented by NASPA, the leading association for student affairs professionals in higher education.
Sponsored by NASPA’s Center for Women, the award will be presented to Caldwell on March 14, during the 2016 NASPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Ind.
Caldwell’s career spans more than 25 years in education. She has served as vice president for student life at Maryville for the past 11 years, and held a dual role as dean of students for eight of those years. She leads divisions on campus dedicated to student success, including student involvement, multicultural programs, personal counseling, athletics, health and wellness, campus ministry, and residential life.
In a Maryville Magazine interview (Fall 2014), Caldwell said: “I love working directly with students who are at this particular phase in their lives and starting this new journey of independence and adulthood. They’re finding their voices and becoming grounded professionally, finding their passion, and doing good works. It’s invigorating.”
In the nomination letter she wrote for Caldwell, Christie Cruise, PhD, associate dean of students, diversity initiatives, and affirmative action, cited the Maryville’s Women in Leadership program, which Caldwell created in 2011. “She had a vision for a leadership program for women on campus that would provide mentoring, support and personal development,” Cruise wrote. “The program, which has representation from women across campus, is now in its fourth year. The Women in Leadership Program has breathed new life into programs and initiatives on campus focused on empowering women.”
Ally Crust, ’09, assistant director of student involvement, has been mentored by Caldwell as both a student and a young professional. She cited Caldwell’s passion for mentoring students in a nomination letter. “Through mentoring, programming, and service, Dr. Caldwell challenges students and professionals alike to be engaged citizens and ethical leaders,” Crust wrote. “She has the ability to ignite a passion and a confidence in every person she encounters.”