One of the first things Dr. Joseph Oravecz did after settling in as Bridgewater State University’s new vice president of student affairs and enrollment management was take a ride into Boston on the MBTA commuter rail.
Upon disembarking the train, the memories came flooding back. It had been many years since Dr. Oravecz had last set foot in the city.
“A lot has changed, but in some ways nothing has changed,” he said.
As a young undergraduate at Gettysburg College, the Connecticut native didn’t have a clear idea where his life was going. After earning his degree, Dr. Oravecz learned two friends were moving to Boston to pursue careers in research.
With no real plans, he decided to tag along.
At first Dr. Oravecz considered law school and found a job in the city as a paralegal. The work didn’t appeal to him, so three months in, he left. It was a former employer who sparked his next adventure, one that would have a lasting impact.
As a college student, Dr. Oravecz worked as a tour guide. It was his tour guide coordinator that suggested he explore being an admissions counselor. After scouring the want ads in the Boston Globe, he came across an opening for an admissions counselor, applied and thus began his career in higher education.
His work took him away from New England to Ohio where he served as associate vice president for student affairs at Bowling Green State University. From there he moved on to dean of the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Nebraska Kearney. Prior to arriving at BSU he was vice chancellor for student affairs at Montana State University-Billings.
It took the right job to bring Dr. Oravecz back to his New England roots. After learning of the opening at BSU, he did his research and concluded that the position would be a good fit.
“The mission of achieving student success is very important to me,” he said. “I believe there is leadership in place here that can make that happen.”
President Frederick W. Clark Jr. said of Dr. Oravecz, "He is a thoughtful, engaging, inclusive and collaborative leader who shares BSU’s deep commitment to student success, and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead."
Dr. Oravecz said his goal is to guide students, who were once just like him, and help them find their paths to success. That includes students from all constituent groups, he said.
To accomplish this, it’s important to reach across the campus community and build as many relationships as possible, Dr. Oravecz said. This ensures the use of best practices on how to “help students succeed outside of the classroom so that they can succeed inside of the classroom.”
“It’s so important to get different perspectives and philosophies,” he said.
If you happen to run into Dr. Oravecz, don’t be shy; he welcomes to the opportunity to listen and is on the lookout to build new relationships.
“I am so excited to be here,” he said.