skip to main content
Home  /  Campus Life & Events  /  Campus Announcements  /  Next Vice President for Student Affairs

Next Vice President for Student Affairs

May 18, 2020

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics
Date: May 18, 2020
Re: Next Vice President for Student Affairs

I am delighted to announce that Kevin M. Gilmartin, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and dean of undergraduate students, will succeed Joseph E. Shepherd, C. L. "Kelly" Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, to become Caltech's next vice president for student affairs, effective September 15, 2020.

I am grateful to the undergraduate and graduate student leaders, faculty, staff, and trustees who helped guide this process. They illuminated the qualities necessary for success in this challenging position and pointed to the opportunities and challenges facing us in the coming years.

Kevin has demonstrated a keen interest and commitment to student welfare in and outside of the classroom. He is an accomplished scholar and author who brings to his new position deep experience in teaching and mentoring students, notably being awarded Caltech's highest honor for teaching, the Feynman Prize. As dean of undergraduate students, Kevin bolstered the student orientation program, reconceptualized academic support services and policies, tirelessly tackled curricular and residential reforms, and thoughtfully built an effective management team. In his new position as vice president for student affairs, Kevin will expand his leadership role to holistically support and guide an enriching and inclusive experience for all our students, and to serve as an officer of the Institute. We will be constituting a search committee for Kevin's successor as dean of undergraduate students imminently.

Kevin earned his undergraduate degree in English from Oberlin College and both his master's and doctoral degrees in English from the University of Chicago. He is an expert on social and political developments in British literature and print culture during the 18th and 19th centuries, with a current focus on the study of shifting representations of rural poverty. Kevin's study has a particular emphasis on the relationship between literary and aesthetic representations of the poor and the social and political institutions that aimed to relieve poverty. He is the author of three books, and his articles have appeared in several edited volumes and in numerous journals.

Joseph Shepherd has represented the interests and concerns of our students with passion, honor, and brio for the past eleven years: as dean of graduate studies, and, more recently, as vice president for student affairs. Joe's unflinching determination to address complex issues and derive appropriate and far-reaching solutions have served Caltech extraordinarily well.

Notable among Joe's accomplishments is the launch of the Hameetman Center, a new hub for campus life and activity that includes the Frautschi Performance Room, and the design and programming of the Bechtel Residence, which provides modern living space that now permits all undergraduates to be able to live on campus for four years. Joe has emphasized the full range of student experience, expanding the mission of the Career Development Center, creating an Office of Residential Experience, enhancing Student Wellness Services, and establishing Caltech's first women's soccer team.

I am grateful to Joe for his service to the Institute and to cohorts of Caltech students, and wish him only the best as he returns full-time to research and teaching. Please join me in thanking Joe for his service (celebration of Joe's many accomplishments to follow when we can) and in welcoming Kevin to his new role.