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Pagán Smith named assistant vice president for student engagement at CCU

November 9, 2022
Mariel Pagán Smith, Ph.D., has been named assistant vice president for student engagement at CCU.

Mariel Pagán Smith, Ph.D., who has extensive professional experience in higher education student affairs, has been named assistant vice president for student engagement at Coastal Carolina University, according to Yvonne Hernandez Friedman, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs.

Pagán Smith, who begins her duties on Jan. 9, 2023, will oversee student activities and leadership, fraternity and sorority life, student transitions and family programs, veteran services, and the Lib Jackson Student Union.

“Mariel brings an energy to student affairs and an expertise that I think will be absolutely valuable as we continue to grow the division and amplify the student experience on campus,” said Hernandez Friedman.

Since March 2022, Pagán Smith has served as the assistant dean for student engagement at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She previously served MSU as the director of the Center for Student Involvement since August 2016. The center oversees commuter life, student activities, voter and civic engagement, Greek life, volunteer center, food pantry, and student center operations.

“I am very excited to join a team with an unwavering commitment to creating and offering student engagement experiences that promote student success,” said Pagán Smith. “During my visit to CCU, the pride of #TEALnation was a joy to witness. I am looking forward to being a part of the campus life and participating in campus traditions.”

Pagán Smith’s professional background includes working from January 2008 to August 2016 at New Jersey’s Seton Hall University, where she began as assistant director of Greek life, clubs, and organizations, and then served as assistant dean of students and student activities. She also worked for a year and a half as a residence director at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

“Mariel has had several experiences where she has increased civic engagement and commuter life, which are particularly intriguing as we continue to look at reach into our local community and increasing retention,” said Hernandez Friedman. “I also appreciate that she has experience in several areas of student activities, facilities management, and student government. This varied experience brings a depth of knowledge to the position that will poise the student engagement area within student affairs the opportunity to grow opportunities for our students on campus.”

Pagán Smith added: “I am very excited about Dr. Y’s forward-thinking vision for CCU’s Division of Student Affairs, and I have valuable experience to contribute. Throughout my career, I have worked at various institution types including: public, private, mid-sized, large, Hispanic-serving, and Catholic. My experience at Montclair State University has anchored my commitment to access through public education, most specifically for first-generation and underrepresented students. As a public, comprehensive, liberal arts institution, Coastal Carolina University’s mission is in line with my values and is seemingly a place where I could thrive professionally.”

Pagán Smith earned two degrees from Seton Hall University: a bachelor’s in diplomacy and international relations, and a Ph.D. in higher education leadership, management, and policy. She also earned a master’s in counseling services from Rider University.