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Remembering Patricia Telles-Irvin

Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for Student Affairs and a compassionate champion for Northwestern University students and the campus community for nearly a decade, passed away on June 3, 2019 after a long battle with cancer. Read about her contributions to Northwestern.

Patricia at breakfast with students

When I think of the finest of Northwestern values — humility, empathy and humanity — I picture Patricia. She gave us her heart, and we will always be in her debt. She never wavered in finding the best in all of us.”

Morton Schapiro, Northwestern University President

Dr. Telles-Irvin’s life was a message of courage, compassion, and unwavering integrity. The power of her example shaped my understanding of selflessness, faith, and grace at a formative time in my life. I am grateful for her principled leadership and for the opportunity to stand witness to such goodness.”

Ani Ajith, Weinberg ‘14
Student Body President 2013-14
Patricia Telles-Irvin at a Dinner at her home with students
Julia Watson and Patricia

Patricia cared deeply about the well-being of students, & was always willing to quietly listen, offer a lending hand, or give pragmatic advice. I will remember her as a phenomenal mentor, a tireless & dedicated advocate for students, & a ‘forever Wildcat.’”

Julia Watson
Former ASG President

Patricia was a true advocate for the student experience, was constantly present in their lives, invested heavily in Mental Health Services and was deeply empathetic to student concerns. Patricia made an enormous impact across multiple dimensions, and her legacy will be felt for decades to come.”

Jay Hoag, Chair
Student Life Committee
Northwestern Board of Trustees


Patricia listening at Posse Retreat

Patricia Telles-Irvin's impact

Tireless work on behalf of students

As vice president for Student Affairs, Patricia Telles-Irvin worked to make the student experience more inclusive, welcoming and successful for all students.   A psychologist by training, she guided the University’s expansion of programs for student mental health and well-being. She was also committed to ensuring all students have the resources and support they need to thrive at Northwestern, regardless of their financial circumstances. 

Patricia Tells Irvin at one of her VP Breakfasts with staff

Dedication to low-income, first-generation and undocumented students

This year, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) recognized Patricia with its Excellence in Community Service Award for her leadership and service to the Latino community. The award was given to her posthumously at the MALDEF Chicago awards ceremony June 7.

View the video tribute shown at the ceremony.

Celebration of Life Ceremony Video

On June 14, 2019 a Celebration of Life Ceremony was given on the Northwestern campus in honor of Patricia. See a video of the ceremony.


To view a PDF of the Program for this Celebration of Life event click here. (PDF)

Give in her name

In 2014, Patricia Telles-Irvin established Student Enrichment Services, an office dedicated to the experience of first-generation and low-income students.

In honor of her leadership and legacy, Patricia Telles-Irvin's family and Northwestern University has established the Patricia Telles-Irvin Student Enrichment Fund.

Patricia Telles-Irvin's family asks that you contribute to this fund or the American Cancer Society.

Share your memories

We encourage members of the Northwestern community and others who have been influenced by Patricia to share your stories about her leadership, her words of wisdom and her impact on you and the University. Your words and stories will be compiled and shared with her family and friends. 

Share your memories of Patricia Telles-Irvin