Michigan State University (MSU) recently honored Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises Vennie Gore with the Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership for all he has done to enhance the lives of MSU students and to improve the overall MSU experience.
The Division of Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) reports to Vennie, and he credits his colleagues and RHS team members for every accomplishment. In all that he does, Vennie represents MSU's model: "It's not just what we do, but why and how we do it that distinguishes us as Spartans."
Upon joining MSU, Vennie used his leadership and management skills in Residential and Hospitality Services by creating alternative approaches toward enhancing student success. Recognizing that Residential Life could enrich the student experience beyond just beds and meals, Vennie began working with colleagues in academic and student affairs on a bold idea to centralize resources supporting all aspects of student life in the residence halls, MSU neighborhoods and their engagement centers.
Designated to the multicultural environment that gives every student at MSU equal opportunities, the neighborhoods are the epitome of connectivity, with administrative, educational, service and programmatic entities integrated closely to several residence halls. This idea of "connectivity" has helped earn national recognition for enabling student improvement in persistence, retention and academic success. The Wall Street Journal credits MSU's strategy of weaving the university into the student's lives, including the neighborhoods and engagement centers, as key to MSU's number one ranking for student engagement among public institutions (number six for all institutions).
By creating a vision and fostering a workplace of respect, inclusion, improvement and innovation, Vennie's impact is rooted in every interaction with colleagues, students and the community. His approach to leadership and partnership between operations and academics is a model for not only MSU but for all communities.