Pathway to Progress

Micki Meyer, Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs-Community, knows the key to navigating life—and her career—is a good map and a willingness to get diverted.

Photo by Scott Cook Photo by Scott Cook

Micki Meyer knows firsthand that a chance encounter at the right time with the right person can set you down a new and unexpected path. She’s lived it—twice.

In 2000, Meyer was doing graduate work in Ohio when she bumped into a stranger who would later offer her the position that first led her to Central Florida. Four years later, she delivered a presentation at a conference attended by Roger Casey, Rollins’ dean of faculty at the time, who was taking careful note of her ideas about service in education and would recruit her to join Rollins as the director of community engagement just a few months later.

“I believe deeply in the power of human connection,” says Meyer, “and the power of these collisions to lead us down a greater path and to a greater calling and purpose.”

Meyer also knows that where chance leaves off, strategy and planning take over. “I’ve always been interested in educational environments and physical space. I believe that the ways in which we orient our work physically are a direct reflection of our values, goals, and commitment to putting students at the center.”

And that’s what makes her uniquely qualified to serve as the Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs-Community and as the steward of one of the most significant projects in Rollins’ recent history: the design and execution of the College’s new applied center for liberal arts learning, Kathleen W. Rollins Hall.

Finding Her Way

During undergrad at the State University of New York College at Fredonia, Meyer got excited thinking about how colleges build citizens—so much so that she decided to dedicate her career to working with college students.

She went on to Bowling Green State University to earn a master’s in higher-education administration before becoming the assistant director of the LEAD Scholars Program at the University of Central Florida, where she began exploring the intersection of community service and higher education. But it was in her next position—director of community engagement at Rollins—that she would truly pursue her passion.

“I heard about what was happening at Rollins and thought about how this place was really primed for the types of things I loved to do,” she says. “I realized that this was a place that was going to let me be creative and innovative, and I’ve never looked back.”

Following a Passion

Meyer spent nine years as the director of community engagement, establishing a new standard for service learning and community partnerships and fostering the earliest versions of Rollins’ campus and community curriculum. She helped students find service learning opportunities and make connections with local businesses and  organizations.

“Students are part of communities when they’re in college, and they’re going to become a part of communities when they graduate,” she says. “We have not just the opportunity but the responsibility to give them the tools to be active citizens in their communities once they graduate.”

As an active member of Ashoka, the country’s leading network of social entrepreneurs, Meyer played a significant role in Rollins becoming the first liberal arts institution in the South and the first college in Florida to be named an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. The designation sets the College apart as an institution committed to campus-wide social innovation.

Creating New Connections

Since 2014, Meyer has served as the Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs-Community. In this role she has worked to build capacity around engaged scholarship, high-impact learning, and student engagement—work that has been brought to life and brought together through the building of Kathleen W. Rollins Hall.

The new state-of-the-art facility on the site of the former Mills Memorial Hall serves as the headquarters of Rollins Gateway, co-locating 10 of Rollins’ most powerful programs—from the Center for Career & Life Planning to the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement—at the center of campus in an environment that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration.

“Since I first came to Rollins, that building has always been top of mind for me, and I spent many days dreaming and thinking if we were to orient the campus around a center building like that, what would be in that building?” she says.

As project steward, Meyer worked with myriad faculty and staff across the College to plan and strategize over the past four years. She created 13 cross-functional committees designed to perfect every aspect of the student experience—from how they navigated to the building and moved through the open spaces to which programs and administrators they encountered along the way. Meyer says the attention to detail was critical. After all, she knows how the right chance encounter might change a student’s life—and might help them change the world.

Kathleen W. Rollins Hall is about more than just an easy-to-find building at the center of a college campus. It’s about the connections and learning it’s making possible. It’s about creating opportunities for the relational and experiential learning that defines a Rollins education and prepares our students for success.

“We know what the world needs right now,” she says. “We need students not just to be educated, but to be liberally educated so they can create positive change. Education is not just about receiving knowledge but applying knowledge. That’s what this building is all about, helping students leverage what they’re learning to create change in our world, and it’s never been more important.”

Pillar of Her Profession

Thomas E. Gamble Service Legacy Award
Florida Campus Compact, 2017
Recognizes an individual for their lifetime and legacy of service

Robert D. Bradshaw Small Colleges Student Advocate Award
National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, 2018
Honored for her commitment to the mission and goals of small colleges, significant student advocacy, and work serving multiple roles within the campus community

Graduate of Leadership Orlando, Leadership Winter Park, and Leadership Orange
A local series providing business and community leaders with the opportunity to explore the Central Florida region while building lasting relationships with professional peers

Ashoka U Champion and Senior Leader
The leading international organization focused on fostering a campus-wide culture of social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and changemaker education

Photos by Scott Cook Photos by Scott Cook

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