Following a national search, The University of Texas at Austin has named Celena Mondie-Milner director of New Student Services (NSS). Part of the Division of Student Affairs, the office oversees and coordinates UT Orientation for nearly 10,000 freshman and transfer students each year. In collaboration with campus partners across the university, NSS provides an engaging and comprehensive orientation experience that ensures students successfully transition, both academically and socially, to the Forty Acres.
"Celena understands the importance of creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for our students at UT Orientation from the moment they register," said Gage E. Paine, vice president for student affairs. "Her leadership will play a critical role in helping us achieve our goal of increasing four-year graduation rates."
For the past eight years, Mondie-Milner has served as director of orientation and new student programs at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. During that time, she maintained overall satisfaction ratings between 94 and 97 percent for student and family orientation programs.
"With more than 15 years of progressive leadership experience, Celena clearly understands the university's mission, the department's purpose and our new student initiative. She will be able hit the ground running with UT Orientation just around the corner," added Soncia Reagins-Lilly, senior associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
Throughout her career, Mondie-Milner has held a variety of higher education positions including student affairs director, instructor, coach, judicial hearing officer and minority success recruitment officer. A former track star, she won the gold medal for the 4 x 100 meter relay at the 1995 World Championships. She is also a 19-time NCAA All-American in track and field and a Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor recipient.
No stranger to Austin, Mondie-Milner lived here while training for the U.S. Olympic trials in track and field. During that time, she tutored and mentored student athletes on the Longhorn football team.
"I look forward to returning to the Forty Acres and leading UT Orientation. The commitment of student affairs and academics to work closely together in providing a holistic experience for undergraduate, transfer and graduate students is impressive. I am excited to be chosen for this very special opportunity," said Mondie-Milner.
In addition to UT Orientation, Mondie-Milner will oversee several other NSS programs that promote student engagement, support academic success and develop student leaders throughout the year.
This May, Mondie-Milner will receive her Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer University. She received a Master of Education degree in leadership and organizational development and a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communication from the University of Illinois.
Mondie-Milner will start her new position June 1. The first of 10 UT Orientation summer sessions begins June 8.