Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, is leaving the university in January 2020 to take the same position at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
As vice chancellor for student affairs, Hephner LaBanc oversees all student affairs on campus, including the dean of students and offices such as the Fraternal Leadership and Learning and the Ole Miss Student Union. She has served as vice chancellor for student affairs since July 2012.
Hephner LaBanc’s departure has seemingly been in the plans since last spring. The Daily Mississippian reported that in April, Hephner LaBanc was a finalist for the same position at the University of Utah. She was not selected for the position and has remained at the university since. At the time, UM Spokesperson Rod Guajardo said it’s normal for the university’s top administrators “to be sought after by other national universities” or to retire from Ole Miss after many years.
The news of Hephner LaBanc’s departure, first announced by UMass Amherst in a press release yesterday, comes eight days after Glenn Boyce took over as the university’s 18th chancellor. Her departure also comes amid leadership shake-up around campus, specifically in the office of student affairs. Last year, Dean of Students Melinda Sutton Noss and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Leslie Banahan left their posts last spring.
In a statement to The Daily Mississippian, Provost Noel Wilkin said that he was saddened Hephner LaBanc was leaving the university.
“She is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the realm of student affairs; and I am not surprised that she was recruited and selected by another fine academic institution. Her leadership and incredible focus on serving students improved the student experience at our university, and she will be greatly missed,” Wilkin’s statement read.
He added that the university will begin a national search to fill Hephner LaBanc’s position “as soon as possible.”
News of Hephner LaBanc’s departure prompted an outpouring of support on social media.
“Easily one of the most diligent, kind, and student-driven leaders we have. A TRUE advocate for the students! Will miss seeing you so much!!” Ukwuoma Ukairo tweeted
“Ole Miss is a better place and I am a better person and professional because of @DrBHL. Thank you for all you’ve done; I can’t wait to see what’s next!” Brittany Deisher tweeted
“This is a big loss for Ole Miss. Dr. Lebanc is a steady and progressive leader. Best of luck to her.” Twitter user @epperson_e wrote.