Marking the Passing of Patricia Telles-Irvin
It is with great sadness that we share with you the untimely passing of Patricia Telles-Irvin. Patricia lost her battle yesterday after a courageous fight with cancer. She is survived by her husband, Don, and son, Daniel, and a new granddaughter, Isabella. Since 2011, Patricia served as the vice president for student affairs at Northwestern University and was a beloved educator, colleague, and friend for students, faculty, and staff alike. Patricia was a true student affairs powerhouse who mentored hundreds of student affairs professionals through her on campus roles at Northwestern, the University of Florida, and Florida International University.
A brilliant and heartful volunteer leader, Patricia served as NASPA President (what is now the Chair of the NASPA Board) in 2011-2012 with incredible distinction. She played a pivotal role in launching the 2012-2105 NASPA Strategic Plan, Advancing Leadership, Shaping Change, as well as guided the Association through the healing process following the decision against consolidation. She also navigated the Association through an organizational change, evolving the staff primary leadership position from Executive Director to President and the volunteer primary leadership position from NASPA President to NASPA Board Chair.
As the first Latina NASPA President, Patricia’s passionate statement to remain in Phoenix, Arizona for the 2012 NASPA Annual Conference demonstrated both personal courage and inspirational leadership, balancing the challenges of discriminatory legislation with supporting our friends, colleagues, and the community in Arizona. As a former director of the NASPA Alice Manicur Symposium, her leadership as both the director and a repeat faculty member allowed her to share her passion and commitment to women in higher education. There are hundreds of women who have benefited from her insight and understanding of both the role of vice president of student affairs and the balance it takes to support the life you must have outside of the academy. She also provided leadership on the NASPA Foundation Board of Directors following her time as NASPA President. Patricia was a leader in advancing NASPA’s efforts in support of social justice, was a champion for supporting mental health issues for college students, and was a role model and advocate for Latinx/a/o students and student affairs professionals.
We are heartbroken about losing Patricia at such an early age having fought her illness so bravely over these past three years. We will miss her. We have lost a legend. We know you join us in expressing our sorrow and love to the Telles-Irvin family. NASPA will recognize Patricia at the 2020 NASPA Annual Conference in her home state of Texas and during the 2020 NASPA Alice Manicur Symposium.
Chair, NASPA Board of Directors
Vice President for Student Life, University of Washington