USF’s international community will face a significant loss on July 15 when Director of International Student and Scholar Services David Austell transfers to Wayne State University, where he will become the new executive director of international programs.
“It’s a huge loss for us. It’s a huge loss for USF since he’s been here for 12 years,” Interim Dean of International Affairs Maria Crummett said. “International Student and Scholar Services is the office that it is because of David Austell.”
Beginning his career at USF in 1993, Austell helped establish an office out of Cooper Hall for use specifically for international students and faculty.
In 1999, he worked with friends, colleagues and mentors to bring Study Abroad, Latin American and Caribbean Studies and International Admissions departments together with ISSS. During this period, Austell also assisted in the selection of Jo Ann McCarthy, the first dean of International Affairs at USF.
In 2001, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 resulted in widespread panic from within USF’s small community of international students, forcing Austell to remedy the concerns.
“The students started calling and coming in,” he said. “So very quickly we had a full house with frantic students — one or two nearly hysterical –who were very frightened at what had occurred. Our role then was to comfort and to support and to try to assist in any possible way.”
In response to the hysteria, the office held a series of seminars for the concerned students.
“He’s someone who would give his all for the students,” sid Crummett. “He’s very genuine, very sincere, really wanting to help.”
Austell said he is sorry to leave USF, where he was able to watch a number of students grow and succeed such as a student from Sierra Leone, from the West Coast of Africa, who just recently completed her doctorate and raised two children as a single mom.
“Just to have helped her over the years has been wonderful and meaningful,” he said.
Referring to his new position with Wayne State, Austell said, “It’s a loop up, and it’s a terrific offer and I’m really going to miss this University.”
In the meantime, Crummett will be looking for someone to fill the position.
“I’m talking with several people at this point in terms of finding a replacement,” Crummett said. “It will be an interim position. At this point, probably within the next few days, I believe, we will have an announcement for the interim.”