When Suzy Jones was hired at Lindenwood University-Belleville three years ago, she worked with an administrator who would become a mentor and friend.
Angela Wingo-Rust was the dean of students. Jones was the director of the academic success center. Their jobs were to make sure students had what they needed on campus.
Now, Jones is the dean of students and she said the role has expanded to oversee not only the academic success center where she started but also the student counseling and resource center.
Wingo-Rust, 47, held the title from 2010 until she died in 2016. She’s known as someone who helped take the campus from a night school to a university in that time.
“In my personal opinion, no one will ever replace Dr. Angela Wingo-Rust,” Jones said in an email to the Belleville News-Democrat.
But she plans to continue helping Lindenwood improve — in big and small ways.
Jones is known around campus by a nickname that Lindenwood President Brett Barger said represents what she brings to the role: “Dr. Sparkles.”
“She does her job with great excitement and enthusiasm, and she brings the same qualities out in the people who work for her,” Barger stated in a Lindenwood news release.
Since she started working at Lindenwood in 2015, Jones said the academic success center has grown from four full-time employees who could only offer mentoring and tutoring to a staff of six full-time employees and one part-time employee, plus student workers today. There are new initiatives to help students now, including career services.
One way Lindenwood finds out what students think and want is through a survey at the end of every semester, according to Jones.
“Those responses are always taken into consideration, as my team and I discuss them and try to implement new changes we feel are within reason,” she said. “We currently have several projects underway that I believe will be a positive impact to the university as a whole.”
She does her job with great excitement and enthusiasm, and she brings the same qualities out in the people who work for her.
Brett Barger, Lindenwood University-Belleville president on new dean of students Suzy Jones
Jones earned her doctorate degree in education from Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and her master’s degree in professional counseling from Lindenwood. She grew up in Wisconsin but has lived in Southern Illinois for the last 20 years with her two sons and Goldendoodle.