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Mary Baldwin announces appointment of VP of student engagement

Crystal Graham
Justin Tyler Owens
Justin Tyler Owens

Mary Baldwin University has announced the appointment of a new vice president of student engagement.

Dr. Justin Tyler Owens will begin in his new role on March 25.

Owens joins MBU from Delaware County Community College in Media, Penn., where he has served as vice president for student affairs and strategic initiatives.

Before his time at DCCC, Owens served as dean of student affairs/dean of students at the University of Pikeville in Kentucky and assistant dean of student affairs and director of residence life at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

Owens has worked to improve the campus experience and sought opportunities to expand and enhance student engagement in his previous roles. He is an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, and he has partnered with colleagues to create more inclusive communities.

“Dr. Owens has all the experience we could ask for in a VP of student engagement and his enthusiasm for improving student life is infectious,” says LaRhonda Johnson Horton, assistant vice president of student engagement. “We can’t wait to have him on campus for our students.”

Owens has had experience in different aspects of campus life at several institutions — from residence hall director and student organizer of summer conferences to student services representative to director of residence life to dean of students.

“I’ve always been interested in student affairs, residential environments and how we impact student growth,” Owens said. “I knew I wanted to experience every rung of the ladder so that, hopefully and eventually, if I made it to the VP role, I would know the experience for everyone I’m overseeing.”

Owens’ career progression was marked by intentional moves to deepen his understanding and impact on student affairs, culminating in a leadership style focused on mentorship and community building.

“Over the past seven years, I have intentionally served institutions that are bridging the opportunity gaps for students within their communities,” Owens said. “These institutions of opportunity made an impact on the lives of our students and their families. I am very proud of the difference we made, and I now look forward to making a difference in the lives of Mary Baldwin students as well.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University, Owens studied at Old Dominion University where he earned a master of science in education. He later earned a PhD in educational leadership for higher education at Clemson University.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.