Deb Schmidt-Rogers Honored with Parthenon Award
Residential Life Director Celebrated for Serving Students with Global Focus
Deb Schmidt-Rogers, interim director of residential life at Northwestern University, received the prestigious Parthenon Award from the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I) at a ceremony in June.
“Receiving the Parthenon Award is so special to me as it highlights a body of work that I am so proud of,” Schmidt-Rogers said. “My volunteer work with ACUHO-I has been a true highlight of my professional career and has given me the opportunity to delve more deeply into the student residential experience around the world. This has helped shape my ability to lead and deliver quality programs and services in my current position.”
Schmidt-Rogers was one of five winners announced at the ACUHO-I Annual Conference & Exposition in Pittsburgh. The organization represents more than 17,000 residence life professionals and presents the Parthenon Award to members demonstrating achievement, service, leadership and contributions to the field of campus housing. Ask Northwestern Executive Director of Residential Services Carlos Gonzalez, and there’s no one more deserving of the honor than Schmidt-Rogers.
“She’s a natural,” Gonzalez said. “Deb makes the balance of serving students in innovative ways, developing staff and performing at a high-level look easy.”
To be considered for the Parthenon Award, ACUHO-I members must contribute at least ten years of service in housing, residence life or an affiliated field, five years of service at the regional or international level and demonstrate an impact on campus housing.
“She is thoughtful, well-read, connected and wears her emotions ‘on her sleeve,’ which positively role models the importance of mature vulnerability,” one of Schmidt-Rogers’ nominators wrote. “She is a champion for those who may not feel they have a voice, always sharing a perspective that may not be popular but needs to be stated.”
Throughout her career in residential life, Schmidt-Rogers has helped create a sense of belonging for Northwestern students across the Evanston campus. Her work is primarily focused on the student experience within Northwestern’s residential halls and residential colleges, where Schmidt-Rogers is responsible for community development, student engagement and programming, crisis response and the student conduct process.
Schmidt-Rogers also brings a global perspective to the role, an important quality on a campus that welcomes Wildcats from around the world to Evanston. As a former president of ACUHO-I, Schmidt-Rogers traveled abroad to explore different approaches to student housing in Australia, South Africa, Italy and the United Kingdom. She led the association with a focus on the ‘I’ or ‘International,’ setting the foundation for the Global Housing Training Institute,” Gonzalez said. In that role, Schmidt-Rogers helped create an intensive workshop for ACUHO-I members from around the world to connect, develop their skills and discuss issues in campus housing.
This year’s Global Housing Training Institute will be held in Melbourne, Australia. During a career in student housing that has spanned three decades, Schmidt-Rogers— a true Chicagoan—has held leadership positions across the city at DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago and Northwestern. She most recently worked as director of residence life at Loyola, before returning to Northwestern as interim director of residential life in February.
“The Residential Life team felt a sense of stability shortly after Deb arrived at Northwestern,” Gonzalez said. “She has continually advocated while raising expectations for the team in realistic and meaningful ways.”