Lucy Croft Begins as VP of Student Success


Photo credits to UMC

Allyssa Ertz, Editor-in-Chief

On Apr. 15, Lucy Croft walked into her brand new office, thrilled to begin her first day as Vice President of Student Success at Buena Vista University. She’s hit the ground running (both figuratively and literally), immediately loving every moment.

“[When] I applied for the BVU job, I instantly knew…this was my dream job. I connected right away when I did my interview with the faculty, staff and students that I met with, . . .the campus, the environment, and I said, ‘I want this job.’ God is good,” she smiles.

Croft is ready to bring her own small school experience as an asset to her position. In her undergrad, she attended Hanover College in Indiana with a double major in Communication and Elementary Education, but her engagement went far beyond the classroom. She was actively involved in student organizations from sorority life to advising to res life, and everything in between.

She loved the way that a small school allowed her to wear many different hats and the opportunity to still excel academically. She believes she wouldn’t be sitting in the seat she is today without the small school chances she got back in Indiana. The individualized attention she got in her undergrad experience made her realize how vital that is to each and every student.

A love for learning and skill at building relationships has given Croft a passion to share higher education with others and help them achieve their dreams. A 30-year passion, in fact.

“My heart is in the work. First and foremost are the students,” she says. “You’re going to have good and bad days, but at the end of the day, if you stay focused on the real meaning of your work, helping the students, you can’t go wrong. I’ve been in the field for 30 years, and that’s never wavered or changed.”

Croft’s vision is to help each student achieve their own definition of success. If she’s done that, she says, then she’s done her job. Making BV an engaging, inviting, welcoming, inclusive environment where students can grow and develop is her goal.

When challenging circumstances threaten Croft, she sees them as opportunities. She wants to utilize any challenge she encounters, whether it be not having a major a student is interested in, to retention issues, to expanding upon the good work already being done at BV.

If a student is having a specific issue with involvement, she’d ask that person a lot of questions to see what she can do to help.

“I’m not going to tell students what to do unless it’s something that is a regulation/violation, but I’m going to provide options for students and let you make your own decisions. You’re adults, 18 and older, most, but provide options and allow you to kind of feel your way through all that, and what feels good to you,” Croft says.

In order to engage with students and find out what she can do to help them, she plans to go to each event that she can to not only connect, but also to help students get engaged with others and the community as a whole.

To get as involved as possible already, she’s made connections within not only BVU, but the Storm Lake community. She’s already run completely around the lake, and even has visited Vice President of Finance and Administration Suzette Radke’s local family farm.

“I have really enjoyed getting to know Lucy. . . She is a dynamic, wonderful person who has a heart of gold,” Radke says. “I feel that she will be a great role model for our students and will help them to become leaders.”

Croft plans to participate in many activities on the campus and in Storm Lake. She’s already been to the game room to play skee-ball with students, and is excited to try her hand at lawn golf. As a triathlete, she plans to do local bike races and 5Ks, as well as pursue engagement in RAGBRAI.

“I’ll be wearing my BVU t-shirt or bike jersey and telling our BVU story, so when I’m out and about doing those kinds of races wearing the BVU attire, [I’ll get] to tell our story and get our name out there,” she adds.

Not only does Croft plan to get involved in local sporting events, she also runs marathons. She’s run a marathon on six of the seven continents, and she plans to run one in New Zealand to cross the last one off her bucket list. On future marathon adventures, she plans to tell BVU’s story wherever she goes in this world.

She says, “People need to know all of the amazing work that’s happening here, and the only way we do that is to get out and about, right?”