New vice president of student
By Jackson Olsen
April 17, 2009 | After a seven-month and nationwide
search, James D. Morales was selected as the new vice
president of student services at Utah State University,
university media relations said.
The announcement came at the Board of Trustees meeting
held April 10 in Champ Hall. University President Stan
Albrecht informed the trustees of his decision after
Morales had been to visit the campus twice in the last
"We'll deeply miss Gary (Chambers), but James will
be a valuable asset to this university," Albrecht said.
Morales was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, but his family
moved to southern Idaho when he was an infant. He was
inspired by his older siblings to go to college, Morales
said, and ended up completing one year at Brigham Young
University before transferring to the University of
Utah, where he finished his undergraduate degree in
psychology. After his graduation, Morales was accepted
into the law program at the U, but left it after one
year to pursue his passion of being with and helping
students, particularly those of Latino descent who,
according to Morales, often overlook college as an option.
"I hope to bring a new perspective to Utah State,"
Morales said. "I will focus on creating a welcoming
atmosphere on campus, and reaching out to students of
all colors and creeds to maintain the standard of inclusiveness
that was established by Gary Chambers."
Morales has been working in the student services field
for the better part of 20 years now, and has worked
at Colorado State and the University of Connecticut,
where he served as the assistant director of student
support services and the associate director in the Office
of Admissions. Most recently, Morales has been working
as the vice chancellor for enrollment and the University
"We couldn't be happier with James' appointment,
and are pleased that our recommendation was heeded by
the president," said Ross Peterson, vice president
of advancement who also served as the chairman of the
The announcement comes just two months before Gary
Chambers, the current vice president of student services,
retires after a nearly 30-year career with USU. Chambers
has filled roles throughout the Division of Student
Services, including in admissions, the Val R. Christiensen
Service Center, student government and director of student
involvement. He took the helm in his current senior
administrative role in 2006, according to Tiffany Evans,
director of student involvement.
"I am excited to join USU and will focus my efforts
on engaging students from all communities, especially
the underprivileged, to help them expand their opportunities."