VP for Student Life Robin Holmes moves on to University of California system

Holmes leaves UO after 25 years. (Will Campbell/Daily Emerald)

Tuesday marked Robin Holmes last day as vice president for student life after serving at the University of Oregon for 25 years.

She accepted a position as the vice president for student affairs with the University of California system, according to her announcement.

Her position will temporarily be filled by Kevin Marbury, the current director of physical education and recreation at UO.

Marbury earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration at the University of North Texas in 1992. Holmes was formerly the director of recreation and wellness at Old Dominion University and vice president for student life at Edward Waters College.

The Emerald could not reach Marbury for comment.

The vice president for student life office encompasses many departments outside of the classroom. These departments include the Career Center, the Counseling and Testing Center, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Erb Memorial Union, the University Health Center, the Holden Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, University Housing, and the Department of Physical Education and Recreation, according to the Division of Student Life.

In an interview with the Emerald, Holmes said she sees the move to the UC system as an upgrade because she hopes to influence youth to pursue higher education in a way that reflects shifting demographics.

Among her notable achievements as vice president for student life, Holmes listed building a strong strategic plan. Holmes said the school had an “almost anti-strategic plan” when she accepted the position of vice president for student life 10 years ago.

Although that leads to a lot of creativity and innovation and a feeling of freedom, it doesn’t lead to much success,” she said.

Holmes also united various departments at UO and pushed the effort to renovate the Erb Memorial Union and the Student Recreation Center.

Holmes said she wishes her time at UO would have allowed her and the administration to build a stronger and more fluid relationship with the student government.

“We’ve had years when it’s been really tough,” she said.

Holmes responded to the Shasta Lake littering incident earlier this year, which made national news and sparked outrage. She said she thinks there are missed opportunities in fraternity and sorority life and wishes she was able to do more to push students to use student life as leadership experience.

Holmes closed her Eugene clinical therapy private practice, which consulted with universities and corporations on diversity issues.

She said the future of student life will be “less clear and direct” because of staff turnover, but said she is confident in the abilities of her successor.

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