People of Point Park: Keith Paylo has found the fountain of youth in his work Thursday, April 28, 2016
Position at Point Park: Dean of Students & Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Undergraduate Degree: B.S. in Business Administration from Robert Morris University
Graduate Degree: Master of Business Administration from Robert Morris University
Current Hometown: South Park, Pa.
Dean Keith Paylo oversees the student experience outside of the classroom at Point Park University, which includes residential life, student activities and athletics. With all of the special moments he sees each year - a student scoring a winning goal, another speaking in front of the United Student Government for the first time - there's only one that he can call his favorite: the first weekend in May, when Point Park confers degrees at Commencement.
"When they walk across that stage, that's a proud moment because of how hard a Point Park student works, in many cases, to receive that degree and to watch those students mature from kids to adults by the time they do that."
While watching every student cross the stage is gratifying, Keith is especially proud of those students who overcame challenges - academically or otherwise - to earn their degree.
From Numbers to Individuals
Keith's first brush with higher education came when he started as an undergraduate at Robert Morris University. He dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, but soon learned that his passion was in higher education. Following graduation, Keith worked for his alma mater in enrollment management for thirteen years, influencing each new class of students, but never participating in their growth and maturity as they matriculated and graduated. Wanting a more personal connection, Keith accepted President Paul Hennigan's offer to become dean of students in 2003.
Point Park gave Keith the opportunity to shape the student experience, something that brings him tremendous energy, saying "I'm a middle-aged man, but this work makes me feel young. Every year, a new group of young people come to Point Park full of excitement and energy. Interacting with those students through student affairs, you can't help but get involved in all that energy. So I say that keeps me young and it really does."
Transformation and Growth
Keith has been with Point Park now for 13 years, and the University has transformed before his eyes - with larger incoming classes, new programs and majors, and a larger campus footprint, growing from only three buildings to 19 buildings. As the University has grown, so has Keith's impact on the student experience, implementing an orientation program, growing residential life, and new student activities like the Campus Activities Board (CAB). Even with all that he's done for campus, he cites the University's energy and dynamic student body as the motivation to continue to strive for success every day.
"It's been a lot of fun to see the impact that we've had in the city and what we've done as a university."
As Keith has been a leader in the transformation and growth of Point Park, he knows the University has also had a tremendous impact on him personally and professionally. Keith cites President Hennigan and Dr. Karen McIntyre, as two of the biggest influences on his career.