Ken Marquez named ASU vice president

(08-15-2012)

Ken Marquez was recently named Adams State University's Vice President for Student Affairs. While the title is new, the job is not. Since 2005, he has served as Adams State's Interim Dean of Students, Dean of Students, and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.

"Ken has been reporting directly to me for two years and this title more accurately reflects Ken's duties," said Adams State President David Svaldi. "This change in title is also a result of requests from Ken's direct reports that his title more accurately reflect the reporting structure and his duties and responsibilities."

Marquez oversees the areas of Housing and Auxiliary Services, Student Life, ASU Police Department, the Student Union Building, Counseling & Career Center, Upward Bound, and Campus Events. He is also the advisor for student government and Semillas de la Tierra. Marquez also serves on the university's Health & Safety committee.

A commitment to students

"It's been crazy, but I love my job," Marquez said, with his characteristic enthusiasm. "I've always felt like the luckiest guy in the world. I wouldn't want to do anything else but serve and advocate for our students."

Marquez's relationship with Adams State begin in 1983, when he came from Florence, Colo., as a freshman and walk-on to the track team. "All I was really interested in then was pole vaulting." Although pole vaulting was his passion, the coach noticed his speed and assigned him to the first leg of the 4x100 relay team, which competed in nationals in his senior year.

After earning his psychology degree in 1987, Marquez remained on campus as a residence hall director and completed his master's in community counseling in 1994. He spent the next six years in housing administration for Northern Arizona University. But the draw of his alma mater was strong, and Marquez returned to campus as Associate Director of Housing in 2000. Those responsibilities gradually increased, until taking over Student Affairs in 2005.

"I would not trade my ASC counseling degree for anything in the world. The skills it gave me literally saved my life many times as a hall director, and it helped me work through many issues with students," he said. "Guns, drugs, sexual assault, suicide, death - you name it, I've dealt with it."

An array of problems and complaints from students and their parents also lands on Marquez's desk. "Students change every year, but it's the same stuff every year. College is the environment where students experiment, make mistakes ... most learn from those mistakes, and leave with not only a great education, but real-life skills."

Staying positive

While some might become disillusioned or cynical in such a position, Marquez makes it a point to stay positive. "My attitude is something I get to choose every day. I can let the stress get me down, or I can go into it with a positive attitude. I very much care about the students and this place."

He is always available to see students, and it's a point of pride for him to return to all phone calls within 24 hours. And he's on call 24/7 whenever a serious student issue arises.

Marquez works to get to know as many students as possible by meeting with the athletic teams and visiting every section of AAA classes (Academic Achievement Strategies, which helps freshmen adapt to the environment of higher education). Upward Bound honored him with a spot in their Hall of Fame, in recognition of his advocacy for students.

He also keeps communication channels open with faculty and staff. "I think I have a really good rapport with department chairs and faculty. We have a great administration at Adams State that really cares about students, so why wouldn't I be happy to work here?"

Marquez and his wife, Dolores, met while Adams State students and have been married for 25 years. Their daughter Alley is an ASU graduate, and daughter Kendra is a senior at ASU. Their son, Garrett, is in his second year at CSU- Fort Collins.

By Julie Waechter