Celestino José Limas, dean of students and chief diversity officer at Lewis & Clark College, has been named to the newly created position of vice president for campus life and senior diversity officer at Lafayette.
President Daniel H. Weiss said, “I am delighted that Celestino Limas will join us in this important new position.” Reporting to Weiss and serving as a member of the president’s cabinet, Limas will oversee all areas of student life – including programs, residence life, Greek life, counseling services, health services, religious life, recreation services, and student conduct – and ensure that access and diversity are at the center of campus-life considerations. The appointment is effective July 1.
“Celestino will collaborate closely with the provost and dean of the faculty, with the vice presidents for development and college relations, finance and administration, human resources, and communications, and with other institutional partners to move diversity and inclusiveness to the core of campus life and learning,” Weiss said.
“The innovative structure of the new vice presidency reflects the College’s commitment to integrate these issues fully in our deliberations and planning,” Weiss added. “At no time in the College’s or our nation’s history has this been a more important objective. This is an unprecedented opportunity to promote pluralism and dialogue on matters of diversity and to shape the student experience at Lafayette.”
Limas brings more than 14 years’ experience leading successful collaborations to advance diversity and inclusiveness at college and universities. He has been dean of students and chief diversity officer at Lewis & Clark since 2008. Before that, he was chief student affairs officer and dean of students at Carroll College from 2007 to 2008.
As Lewis & Clark’s senior student affairs officer, chief diversity officer, and member of the president’s executive council, Limas oversees campus dining, campus living, the Center for Career and Community Engagement, College Outdoors, conduct affairs, counseling services, health promotion and wellness, housing, international students and scholars, multicultural affairs, new student orientation, parent programs, physical education and athletics, student activities, student health services, and student support services, among other areas.
He has chaired Lewis & Clark’s Diversity Advisory Committee, which includes students, staff, faculty, and alumni from Lewis & Clark’s graduate, law and undergraduate schools, plus trustees, and cultivated connections with local communities of color in Portland. He has collaborated with academic deans on curricular and co-curricular diversity initiatives, with admissions to ensure diverse classes are entering and graduating from the college, and with both academic dean s and human resources to ensure an employee group that is diverse and aligned with the college’s inclusion aspirations. Limas has created tailored, comprehensive diversity efforts for offices, departments, and student groups that deepen their understanding of diversity in relation to their goals.
Among other accomplishments, he developed and teaches online courses to help parents understand and manage the transition of their relationships with their students, oversaw the creation and implementation residential language communities and interfaith residential communities, integrated the Department of Physical Education and Athletics into the Division of Student Life, co-chaired a presidential task force on substance use and abuse that resulted in improvements in policies, and co-chaired a task force on accessibility that was so beneficial it became a standing committee.
At Carroll College, Limas led co-curricular endeavors to make the campus a comprehensive learning environment, developed and implemented living/learning communities in student residences, and led an initiative to provide a comprehensive approach toward promoting and fostering cultural competency, among other accomplishments.
Before that, Limas was associate dean of student life and director of campus life at University of Redlands from 2005 to 2007. His experience also includes positions in student affairs at Vassar College (2003-05), University of Oregon (2001-03), Marquette University (1999-2001), and Nebraska Wesleyan University (1997-99). He holds a Ph.D. in education leadership from the University of Oregon and an M.A. in special education from the University of Nebraska. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Iowa, where he majored in psychology.
The recipient of the 2010 Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean from Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Region V, Limas also has taught courses on student development and leadership, sociology, and higher-education law. He speaks regularly at professional conferences on topics of diversity, student affairs, education and partnership with parents, and student leadership. He gave the keynote address, “Generating and Sustaining Shared Support for Diversity Initiatives: Strategies for Collaboration that Bring Colleagues Together,” at NASPA’s Multicultural Institute in 2009.
Limas is a member of the board of Outside In of Portland and of the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education James Scott Academy for New Senior Student Affairs Officer Institute. He also is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Council of La Raza, and other professional organizations.