Linda Kuk knows what it’s like to be a student at CSU.
Perhaps it’s the fact that 32 years ago this May, Kuk graduated
with a bachelor’s degree in social work from CSU.
Perhaps it is because she returned to her alma mater 30 years
after graduation to accept the position of vice president for
Student Affairs, the administrative division that works most
closely with students.
When Kuk sits in on meetings with CSU President Larry Penley and
the other three university vice presidents, she speaks up about how
the issues on the table will affect students.
“That’s part of my role – to work as a student voice when
students aren’t present,” Kuk said.
Kuk also oversees an estimated 50 different units within the
university, including Housing and Dining Services, the management
at the Lory Student Center and student organizations, as well as
having an advisory relationship with the Associated Students of
“She has really served as a partner in a lot of what we do,”
said Associated Students of CSU President Jesse Lauchner. “Whether
it be big programs or big decisions, she’s taken more of an
advisory role rather than an authoritative role, which has been
Lauchner said her decisions have always been student-centered,
with close attention to assuring students make the most of their
time at CSU.
Because Kuk supervises so many different programs and
facilities, she meets with her staff on a daily basis to discuss
“There’s so much information with decision-making and
policy-making and supervising all of those things require us to get
together with people and collaborate,” Kuk said. “And I like that;
I don’t like to do things in a vacuum.”
Kuk grew up the oldest of six children in Aurora, Ill. Aurora
was an ethnically diverse area in the ’50s, with immigrant families
and workers spread throughout the town. This atmosphere, along with
the Vietnam War-era, led Kuk to pursue a career in social work. She
moved to Fort Collins and quickly became involved in campus
She was director of Student Life, a member of the student
activity board and a resident assistant at Green Hall, before it
was converted into the CSU police station.
Grant Sherwood, program chair for Student Affairs in Higher
Education at CSU, was the associate director of Housing and Dining
Services when Kuk was a resident assistant in Green Hall.
He said even during her terms as a resident assistant, she was a
strong advocate for students and students’ needs.
She graduated in 1972 and earned a master’s of social work in
1973 at CSU.
She served as the area director of Housing and Residence Life at
the University of Connecticut from 1973 to 1975 and earned a
doctorate in higher education administration in 1979 from Iowa
She worked as an area director of Housing and Residence Life at
ISU and in 1978 was hired as the assistant to the vice president
for Student Affairs.
With her degree in higher education administration, Kuk was
hired as the dean of students at Marquette University in Milwaukee,
Wis., in 1979.
Kuk held the vice president for Student Affairs position at
three different universities.
She started at the State University of New York in 1984.
In 1992, she moved to Rodchester, N.Y., to serve as vice
president for Student Affairs at the Rodchester Institute of
In the spring of 2001, Kuk was appointed as vice president for
Student Affairs at CSU, earning her position among nearly 40
applicants. Kuk is also a faculty member in the education graduate
program at CSU. She teaches a class on higher education
Jody Donovan, assistant to the vice president for Student
Affairs, said Kuk is a great role model for her staff.
“She has really taught me the importance of not burning
bridges,” Donovan said. “There are still people here that were her
classmates or supervisors (while she attended CSU), and now she’s
their supervisor. People have welcomed her back and that’s really
Kuk extends her reach beyond campus to the community, where she
works with Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez and City Manager John
Fischbach to discuss students’ behavior in the community and how to
alleviate problems they may cause.
From Kuk’s perspective, students’ lives have changed over the
years. Today there are more societal pressures to be successful,
and more stress involved in being a college student.
“But who they are and what they want to do is sill the same,”
Although she is greatly involved in her position at CSU, Kuk
tries to make time to draw and paint, she likes to travel and this
summer is planning a trip to Europe, traveling to Ireland, Scotland
She hopes to do a semester as an administrator at Semester at
Sea, a study abroad program that travels around the world by cruise
“She doesn’t just work, she shows (her staff) that we can also
have lives beyond work,” Donovan said.
In the future, Kuk plans to use the same formula that has worked
for her as an administrator for the last 20 years.
“I just hope to keep on doing what I’m doing. I’m very fortunate
to have found the right mix of opportunities,” Kuk said. “I love
being in Student Affairs and working with students.”