Suffolk University’s creative approach to developing student leaders and its supportive residential environment have been recognized with awards from organizations dedicated to cultivating student success and learning.

The Journey Leadership Program, a four-year student experience built on the cornerstones of involvement, service, career exploration and leadership, was named both Massachusetts Program of the Year and New England Region Program of the Year by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, or NASPA.

Journey, developed by Student Leadership and Involvement Director David DeAngelis, is in the running for further recognition at the NASPA national conference in March.

Keith WaakNASPA also chose Keith Waak, resident director at the 150 Tremont St. residence hall, as the Massachusetts Outstanding New Professional on the basis of his significant contributions to the University and to the profession.

And the student-run North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls named Waak the Adviser of the Year for his work in guiding the University’s Residence Hall Association.

“These recognitions are a wonderful testimony to the creativity and professional expertise of Dave [DeAngelis] and Keith [Waak],” said Dean of Students Nancy Stoll.

National model for student leadership programs

“The Journey Leadership Program has become a signature program for Suffolk, and with this state and regional recognition, it takes its place as a national model for quality leadership programs for students, said Stoll.

“Keith’s advisory role with the Residence Hall Association has produced terrific programming in the residence halls but, even more importantly, his mentorship to students has supported their growth as leaders,” she said. “Suffolk students are fortunate to reap the benefit of both Dave’s and Keith’s talents and caring natures.”

Waak has made an impact in the Department of Residence Life and Housing since coming to Suffolk in 2010. He secured grant to take student members of the Residence Hall Association to their first national leadership conference in Boulder, Colorado. He also serves on the Suffolk University President’s Commission on Diversity and the Student Affairs Staff Development Committee.

Fostering student success

“To me, these awards show Suffolk’s commitment to its students,” said Waak. "We're here to make sure that they succeed in all aspects of their lives -- not only in the classroom, but personally and socially as well. Our goal is to make a difference and see to it that they learn and grow in a positive and safe environment.”

The Journey program, sponsored by the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement and designed to develop leadership skills throughout students’ time at Suffolk, was evaluated for the awards on the basis of innovation and creativity, timeliness of the content, contribution to the home institution, and contribution to student development and/or professional development.

“It is a collaborative effort that enriches the leadership skills of our students and identifies that leadership development happens across the institution,” said DeAngelis.

“The program’s success is driven by members of our talented Student Leadership Involvement team, who are committed to leadership development education and creating a student-centered experience at Suffolk.”