St. Gregory's Welcomes New Dean of Students
For St. Gregory’s new Dean of Students, T.C. Veit, life is about service—service to the students he works with, service to the community at large and service to his faith. It is through service that he believes he has grown into a person capable of leading a new generation of students into discovering who they are and who they want to become.
“A lot of reflection and prayer, and really divine providence, brought me here,” he said.
Born in western New York in the town of Palmyra, Veit majored in Music Education at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. While he enjoyed his time there as an undergraduate, serving as a Resident Advisor for two years and managing a staff of RAs as a senior Resident Director, he knew he wanted to pursue a professional career in a place where he could grow in mind and spirit.
“I was praying that I would be brought to a place where I would have more support in the endeavors of my faith,” Veit said. “When I was applying for jobs after my bachelor’s degree, I found a job in Louisiana that brought exactly that.”
Veit’s position as a Student Life Advisor at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (LSMSA) in Natchitoches—a public, residential high school for gifted and talented students—placed him at the center of a deeply Catholic area, and he flourished both as a professional and in his own personal faith journey. He quickly advanced to the position of Coordinator of Student Development, where he oversaw leadership development and volunteer programs, in addition to the school’s work service program and student clubs and activities.
“Service is a big part of my identity,” Veit said. “When I was a LSMSA, that was a big part of what we did.”
Veit earned a Master’s Degree in Students Personnel Services/Students Affairs Administration with an emphasis on Counseling from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches during his time at LSMSA. Then, he began looking for a new challenge in his career, and the position of Dean of Students at St. Gregory’s came to his attention.
He said he was drawn to SGU because it is located on an intimate campus and recognized as a strong Catholic institution by the Cardinal Newman Society.
“I really believe in a smaller institution,” Veit said. “I thought, ‘What better place to grow my faith than a community centered off a Benedictine abbey.’ At the same time, I recognized that I was going from a place where Catholicism was very prominent in Louisiana to Oklahoma, where the Catholic population is very small, so I would have the opportunity to live my faith more and hopefully grow even stronger in my faith by coming here.”
As he officially stepped into his role as St. Gregory’s new Dean of Students last week, Veit was confident that he would be up to the challenge of leading a Student Life department at a university for the first time. He plans to take a hands-on approach to learning exactly what makes St. Gregory’s tick by living in one of the dorms until his wedding in November.
“During that time, I plan on also being present in the residence halls,” he said. “I want to sit at the point for a couple of shifts and learn the job. I want to go on rounds with some of the prefects. I’ll probably do a few rounds on my own just to feel things out and see where we are. I plan on being pretty present, just kind of feeling out what kind of community we currently have, what areas need to be addressed and what we can do to further enhance the students’ experience.
“I really want them to view this place as a second home. I want to create an environment that is welcoming, that is conducive to being academically successful and socially successful.”
According to Veit, all of the programs initiated by Student Life this year will be based in some way on the ten Benedictine values.
“I’m excited to work with the Chaplain’s office,” he said. “I haven’t been afforded that opportunity in the past, being at a public school, so I look forward to collaborating with Fr. Nicholas and Marvin Bennett in FIDE. I’m also looking forward to seeing how I might involve the Brothers of St. Gregory’s Abbey in our activities.”
Ultimately, Veit wants his Student Life department to be the students’ education beyond academics, to help each student get a better grasp of who he or she is as an individual, where their moral compass lies, and help them discover their values.
“Our students can expect me to be someone who will walk the walk that he talks,” Veit said. “I tend to be a very practical, common-sense solution finder. I’m not going to create some kind of elaborate band-aid for a problem that could be fixed by simply holding your finger to it.”
While he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him in the coming months getting to know the students and the heritage of St. Gregory’s, he hopes returning and new students alike come to campus wanting a complete college experience, so when they ultimately graduate, they leave with lots of fond memories.
“I’m excited about the potential for growth at St. Gregory’s,” he said. “I’m excited about my young staff. I want to continue the legacy of St. Gregory’s and grow it. It’s all coming together in a way that I hadn’t foreseen, and I’m excited about all of it.”