Students, faculty and staff at Spring Hill College can expect to see new faces when they return to campus in the fall. Along with freshmen and transfer students, SHC will be welcoming new staff at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Christopher Puto, SHC president, sent an email in February announcing staffing changes. In the email, Puto introduced Kevin Abel as the new vice president for Student Affairs. Puto spoke highly of Abel, describing him as having a “strong record of accomplishment.” Abel, an Ohio native, is excited to make the move from West Palm Beach to Mobile. Joining Abel will be his wife and three daughters.
Abel is currently dean of students and chief student affairs officer at Palm Beach Atlantic University. In an interview with Abel, he shared that he started at Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2005, and was appointed his current positions in 2011. Before working in Florida, Abel spent time working at colleges in Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Abel shared, “I have loved being part of the small college environment and getting to know the students. It is one of the reasons I was drawn to Spring Hill.”
Along with the small college environment, Abel was drawn to SHC’s focus on “cura personalis.” This Latin phrase translates as “care for the entire person,” and Abel described it as an “incredible match” to his personal philosophy and approach to higher education. Abel said his passion for higher education and college student affairs stemmed from his own undergraduate experience: “The student affairs staff saw leadership potential in me and cared enough to push me to realize that potential.” When asked what attracted him to the position at SHCl, Abel replied, “the faculty, staff and students that I met during my interview process made a huge impression on me. Spring Hill has had a storied past, and has a bright future.” With an optimistic attitude, Abel is looking forward to what lies ahead in the coming years.
As vice president for Student Affairs, Abel is dedicated to supporting student success, growth and development. He encourages members of the college community to introduce themselves: “You will find me in every corner of campus soaking up the Spring Hill experience through student programs, academic presentations, supporting Badger athletics and having a cup of coffee with Spring Hill community members at Einstein [Bros. Bagels].”
Discussing the struggle between “transactional” college experiences and “transformational” college experiences, Abel feels strongly that SHC’s “full array of curricular and co-curricular experiences” can result in an engaging and impactful student experience.