Student Affairs candidate visits USF

Frank R. Lamas, an applicant for vice president of Student Affairs, played to a sparse crowd Tuesday at 10 a.m. — he chalked it up to the college students’ adversity to pre-noon activities.

“I know it’s tough for students in the morning,” Lamas said. “Everyone is probably still in their morning grog.”

Despite the low turnout at the student meet and greet, Lamas outlined why he is a good candidate for USF’s Student Affairs, where he would control and allocate approximately $42 million to student organizations and recreational programs on campus.

“I did some research and (USF) seemed like an up-and-coming university,” he said. “I loved the idea that it is more diverse. This would be a great place for my next professional position.”

This meet and greet is only one piece of the assessment process that began last October after then-vice president Harold Nixon resigned. Since October, the search committee has received 72 applications, which they have narrowed down to four. Since the vice president of Student Affairs reports directly to university President Judy Genshaft, she gets to make the final decision.

“The president will decide the next step. This is her hire,” said Liz Kaplon, staff liaison for the search committee and executive assistant to the vice president.

As for his qualifications, Lamas has been an assistant vice president and associate vice president for Student Affairs at the Rochester Institute of Technology since 1995 and feels as though his greatest asset would be his experience.

“At interviews, you’re supposed to brag about yourself,” Lamas said. “I’ve been involved with Student Affairs for 27 years. I think I’m a seasoned professional.”

Since becoming involved in the office of Student Affairs at Rochester, Lamas has been in charge of $5 million of a $15 million budget — the school has 15,000 undergraduates. USF’s Student Affairs budget is currently $35 to $42 million with about 32,000 undergraduates.

Weary of getting into specifics because he feels he is still “on the outside looking in,” Lamas said he knows from experience that there is a need for student-centered organizations.

“If your programs are not student centered, the students will vote with their feet. They’ll leave,” he said. “(The Student Affairs center) facilitates a transformation for students. They want to leave better than when they came in.”

Despite considering himself an outsider, Lamas is already assessing possible student issues USF.

“It’s what many people call ‘branding’ at a university level,” he said. “My assessment is that (USF) wants to be less of a commuter feel and more a residential feel.”

Since USF is beginning to turn in that direction, Lamas thinks that his dedication to this next step in his career makes him a viable candidate.

“I’m a team player, I’m a collaborator,” he said. “I’m not looking for a steppingstone position. I’m looking for a place to put my roots down.”

The meetings will last until March 7, with the next visiting applicant scheduled for Feb. 28 from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Room 296.