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Sarah Waters named director of KU Student Housing

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The University of Kansas has selected Sarah Waters as its next director of KU Student Housing. Waters, currently director of residence life at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, begins her new position July 17.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Sarah to KU,” said Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs. “Her long record of achievement, with outcomes that include improved student retention, emphasis on diversity, and work on capital improvement projects totaling $130 million, meshes with KU’s priorities. I am confident she will continue moving the organization forward.”

Waters has served Bowling Green State University for nearly 10 years, first as senior associate director and then was named director of residence life in 2010. 

As director, Waters provided leadership for all aspects of a program similar in size and scope to KU Student Housing. She is credited with increasing persistence of on-campus students between freshman and sophomore year by 8.7 percent, and she created residential programs that include a faculty mentor program, residential learning communities and academic peer mentoring program. Bowling Green State’s capital projects have included 1,700 new beds added during the past eight years, including some that were built as part of a public-private partnership. 

“I am thrilled to be part of the vision and mission for Student Housing at the University of Kansas,” Waters said. “This program has a wonderful foundation and has so many projects on the horizon, including the Central District new residence hall and apartment complex. The on-campus living environment is critical to our students’ overall experience at the university.” 

Waters, a native of Leavenworth, has served other universities, including Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she was assistant director of housing and residence life; Minnesota State University in Mankato, where she was a complex director; and East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where she served as residence hall coordinator.

Waters earned her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and her master’s degree from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Waters will take over from Diana Robertson, who announced she will retire June 27. In Robertson’s 17 years at KU, she served as director for 11 years and associate director for residence life for six. 

KU Student Housing accommodates about 5,100 students on the KU Lawrence campus. The system includes nine residence halls, 12 scholarship halls and three apartment complexes. A new 545-bed residence hall will open in August and new 708-bed apartment complex will open in 2018. Both are part of the new construction in KU’s Central District.

More than $200,000 in annual scholarships to returning residents
Academic success: More than 94 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen in student housing enroll for the next semester
5,100 residents choose student housing each year
Residence hall rates are almost $2,000 less per year than the national average for public schools
— College Board
$4 million alumni gift funded Krehbiel Scholarship Hall
Options include suites, private bedroom with shared bath, two-person rooms, scholarship halls, and apartments
Oswald and Self residence halls opened in 2015
One bill covers all costs: room, food, utilities, and wireless Internet
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities