The State Board of Higher Education has approved renaming NDSU’s Living Learning Center in honor of Prakash Mathew, a longtime NDSU administrator who is set to retire June 30. Mathew served the university for 34 years, including more than eight years as vice president for student affairs. The approval came May 29 as the board met on the campus of Minot State University.
Mathew led the Division of Student Affairs in providing services to students in 23 departments and programs with 370 benefitted employees and more than 850 student employees. During his career, Mathew played a key role in bringing student issues and concerns to the forefront – students remained the central focus of his work.
Through Mathew’s leadership, academic-focused learning communities were developed, and the Living Learning Centers were designed specifically to bridge the living environments with the learning environments. Living Learning Center East opened in fall 2003 and Living Learning Center West opened in fall 2008. Each building includes four floors with a total capacity of 332 beds in 140 studio apartments and 48 four-bedroom apartments.
The proposal to rename the buildings to honor Mathew was a student-driven effort. The NDSU Student Senate and the Residence Hall Association approved resolutions calling for the change.
In its request to the board, NDSU Student Government noted, “Traditionally, land-grant universities have three principal responsibilities: teaching, research and public service. We believe that Vice President for Student Affairs Prakash Mathew personified these items in his service to NDSU. Thus, the naming of this building remains consistent with the NDSU Campus Facility Master Plan.”
The resolution by the NDSU Residence Hall Association reads, in part, “Whereas, the naming of the Living/Learning Centers East and West should be reserved for an individual who has contributed greatly to on campus students; and whereas, Vice President Prakash Mathew dedicated his entire career to supporting students, including a majority of those years directly working in Residence Life; be it resolved: The Living/Learning Centers East and West should be renamed the Prakash Mathew Living/Learning Center.”
NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani described the Living Learning Centers as one of Mathew’s most important visions for the NDSU campus. “His roles, impact on and reputation with students is exceptional. In fact, I’ve heard countless alumni refer to him as the person at NDSU who singularly most impacted their experience at our campus,” wrote Bresciani in a letter of support.
“Prakash worked tirelessly to advocate for students throughout his career. He taught the importance of servant leadership while developing strong relationships with our students. It is only fitting that the students requested renaming the Living Learning Centers as a ‘thank you’ for his service,” said Rian Nostrum, director of Residence Life, noting a renaming ceremony is tentatively being planned during fall semester.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.