Nyack Dean to Azusa Pacific Director: Coast to Coast Mentoring

Mentoring relationships are a part of the culture at Nyack College and students will enthusiastically and gratefully attest to the generous investment that faculty and staff make in their lives inside and outside the classroom. Often that feel of “a home away from home” literally comes with the benefit of a delicious home cooked meal, buttery baked goods or conversation at a local coffee shop.

The same kind of professionalism and life experience that dedicated men and women model for our students was offered to a recent campus guest visiting Dean Wanda Velez on the Rockland County campus.

Director of Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services, Mrs. Erika Ramirez, made the cross country journey from Azusa Pacific University (APU), a Christian institution of higher education in Southern California near Los Angeles. She wears another hat at the San Bernadino extension site of APU, as interim director of the Inland Empire Regional Campus, where more than 10,000 students are enrolled.

The two women were paired through a Council for Christian Colleges & Universities Leadership Development Institute, the Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development Institute (M-E LDI). In addition, to the three-day visit that Mrs. Ramirez spent with Dean Velez, a full itinerary of meetings and meals with professors and staff was provided to acquaint her with Nyack.

What did she learn?

“You can feel the people’s passion and how much they want the college and its students to succeed,” she observes. About the Nyack grads turned employees, she says they “are so in love with the campus that they’ve made it a part of their lifestyle.”

Leaving her family behind for this trip, Erika Ramirez came “with an open heart and mind.” She saw some similarities to her APU campuses where student service is a priority. Because her role is a non-academic and her student financial services work is with graduate students, after seeing the chemistry that exists between Nyack faculty, staff and students, she would love to get to know her APU undergraduates better. Her experience of a Nyack chapel service convinced of that. Overall, the visit “exceeded” her expectations. After her whirlwind days, she concurs with the “home away from home” feeling:  “Hospitality is amazing at Nyack!”