K.C. Mmeje

SMU celebrates MLK with Dream Week 2018 through Jan. 29

SMU kicked off its annual Martin Luther King Day observance by participating in the City of Dallas’ 2018 MLK Day Parade on Monday, Jan. 15. President R. Gerald Turner and Vice President for Student Affairs K.C. Mmeje were among the University community members who rode the SMU float, walked the parade route on MLK Boulevard, and mingled with fellow citizens.

The celebration continues throughout January with Dream Week 2018 — featuring discussions, screenings, and service opportunities for the entire campus.

> Watch Myles Taylor’s 2018 MLK Day Parade video in a new window video

Dream Week 2018 scheduleSeveral events in January will pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including:

  • SMU’s annual Unity Walk, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 at Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons
  • MLK Day of Service, in which SMU community members give a “day on” to DFW-area nonprofit organizations, Saturday, Jan. 27
  • Cookie Chat: A Color Purple, hosted by the SMU Women and LGBT Center, noon, Monday, Jan. 29, 313 Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • MoMac at the Movies: Detroit, 6:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 29, Angelika Film Center (open to all SMU students)

> Find a complete list of MLK Day volunteer opportunities at the SMU CEL site

> Share on social with the hashtag #SMUMLK18

> Bookmark the Dream Week page at the SMU Multicultural Student Affairs website

Student career-management leader Crystal Clayton named executive director of SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center

Crystal ClaytonCrystal Clayton, a career-management professional with more than 20 years of experience working with graduate and undergraduate students, has been named executive director of SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center. She will begin her new duties on Aug. 28, 2017.

Clayton was selected after a competitive national search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Stephen Rankin, associate dean of students and chaplain.

“Crystal has built a stellar reputation as a student mentor and a leader in professional development,” said K.C. Mmeje, SMU vice president for student affairs. “In addition, her deep connections in the Texas and Oklahoma business communities are a built-in regional advantage for current and future SMU students, especially as they plan internships and post-college careers. We welcome her to the Hilltop and look forward to sharing her expertise with both undergraduate and graduate students at SMU.”

SMU trustee Fred Hegi ’66, who in 2001 joined with his wife, Jan ’66, along with their family in providing the lead gift for a $3 million endowment and expansion of SMU’s career center, said Clayton is well prepared to help students. “She is the person we were looking for,” he said. “Her experience, combined with her passion for helping students and graduates find their career paths, make her a tremendous asset for SMU. With her leadership, we will continue our path to be one of the nation’s top five career centers.”

As director of the JCPenney Leadership Center and an adjunct management instructor in the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, Clayton works with students, staff and faculty to create and implement several successful career and professional development initiatives and events. She leads the Center’s work in alumni and corporate relations, recruitment and admissions, career counseling, professional development programs, program assessment, and partnership development, among many other areas.

In addition, Clayton leads the Center’s Alumni and Student Advisory Boards and Faculty Committee and serves on the OU Writing Center Advisory Board. She created, developed, and launched a Board Fellows Program for leadership associates, which allows students to serve as nonprofit board members. She founded, organized, and led the Center’s Peer Training Team, initiated an alumni career conference in Price College of Business, and helped reboot OU’s Women in Business Leadership Conference. She also designed and taught leadership courses and programs for Price College, including a minor in leadership.

Previously, Clayton served as director of student services and associate director for career management with the Full-Time MBA Program in Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. In progressively more responsible roles, she counseled students on networking, résumé and cover-letter writing, successful interviewing, career selection, and job-search strategies, among other career-related topics. She advised student leadership for more than 30 Jones School organizations, as well as initiated and developed an MBA team mentoring program. In addition, she was sponsor of the Rice Chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs, served on the Jones School Corporate Advisory Board, and participated on the Jones School E-Learning Committee.

Clayton’s professional recognitions include a 2015 Students’ Choice Staff Appreciation Award and a 2013-14 Dean’s Excellence Award for Professional Staff from OU. Currently, she serves on the executive committee of the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Griffiths Leadership Society for Women. From 2009 to 2012, she served as a board member of the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Career Development.

A native of St. Louis, Clayton received her B.A. degree in English from Truman State University. She earned an M.A. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and an Ed.D. degree in educational leadership and higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

> Visit the Hegi Family Career Development Center online: smu.edu/career

Kenechukwu (K.C.) Mmeje named SMU Vice President for Student Affairs

Kenechukwu K.C. MmejeKenechukwu (K.C.) Mmeje, assistant vice president and dean of students at Loyola University Chicago, has been named Vice President for Student Affairs at SMU effective Monday, July 17, 2017.

“Strength of character and a commitment to students shines through in interactions with Dr. Mmeje,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His experience at urban, private universities in Chicago and Los Angeles also set him apart as a candidate for this important position at SMU. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Mmeje to the Hilltop in Dallas.”

In his new duties, Mmeje (pronounced MAY-jay) will oversee areas including the Office of the Dean of Student Life; Residence Life; women’s, LGBT, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; the Hegi Family Career Development Center; campus ministries; health and wellness programs, including the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

As assistant vice president and dean of students at Loyola University Chicago since September 2014, Mmeje has been responsible for several functional areas that support Loyola’s academic mission and promote a vibrant campus life, including the Office of the Dean of Students, Off-Campus Student Life, Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution, Student Activities & Greek Affairs, Leadership Development and Second Year Experience, Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, and the Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC). He has almost 15 years of progressively responsible student affairs experience in judicial affairs, crisis management, retention and academic support services, and student advocacy and support.

In addition, he oversees Loyola’s Behavioral Concerns Team and co-chairs the Threat Assessment Team. He also co-chairs the Loyola Experience Implementation Committee, which is responsible for ensuring alignment of the institution’s academic and co-curricular programs through ongoing collaborations that include New Student Convocation, Welcome Week, and Student Support and Retention Initiatives, among others.

“I am excited to join the SMU community,” Mmeje said. “Throughout the search process, I was struck by the passion and enthusiasm with which everyone I met described their love and tremendous pride for SMU. I look forward to partnering with the outstanding professionals in the Division of Student Affairs, faculty and academic leaders to offer a seamlessly integrated curricular and co-curricular experience that supports the holistic development of each student. I am eager to meet the SMU student community and to begin working on their behalf.”

Mmeje began his career in student life and development at the University of Vermont in Burlington, where he served as assistant director of the Office of Judicial Affairs from 2003-04. He served the University of Southern California (USC) as assistant director of student judicial affairs and community standards (2004-05), and as student affairs advisor and special projects coordinator for the vice president of student affairs (2005-06).

From 2006-10, Mmeje was director of the USC Scholars Program, a funded outreach and retention initiative serving local underrepresented, first-generation, and low- to moderate-income transfer students. In this role, he collaborated with faculty to develop, implement and assess programs that facilitated the academic and social success of these students at USC. In addition, he provided regular training for academic advisors on how to better serve the university’s transfer population, as well as admissions and financial aid counseling for students and their parents and guardians.

His eight-year career with Loyola University Chicago included service as associate dean of student life (2010-13) before his promotion to assistant vice president, Student Life, in July 2013. Concurrently with his other duties, he also served as interim director of the Department of Residence Life from 2015-16.

Mmeje received his B.A. degree in sociology and Black studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara. He earned a Master of Education degree in higher education student affairs administration from the University of Vermont and his Ed.D. in educational leadership from USC. In addition, he holds a Certificate in Management and Leadership in Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

His wife, Natasha, is a health educator and currently serves as assistant director of Loyola’s Wellness Center for Health Promotion. She also is a trained medical advocate for survivors of sexual assault in the State of Illinois. They have two daughters, Ayana and Savannah.

Mmeje was selected after a nationwide search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Harold W. Stanley, vice president for executive affairs. He replaces the late Pamela D. Anthony, who died Jan. 17, 2017, after a battle with cancer. Joanne Vogel, SMU associate vice president and dean of student life, currently serves as vice president ad interim.