Patty Perillo, UMD's new VP of student affairs
November 1, 2019

Patty Perillo, a School of Public Health alumna (PhD '02 Public and Community Health), is coming back to Maryland as the university’s vice president of student affairs, after two decades of experience at UMBC, Davidson College and Virginia Tech. 

“It’s sweet,” Perillo said of returning to Maryland, close to all of her 8 siblings—and many nieces and nephews—in Wilmington, Delaware. “It’s one of those life-comes-full-circle moments.” 

Perillo earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Delaware in student affairs and higher education and then worked at the State University of New York for four years before deciding to apply to the University of Maryland. During her doctorate at Maryland, Perillo took classes and worked with professors in both the public and community health and higher education departments while studying how student drinking behaviors affected their learning environments. 

“I wanted to better understand as a leader, how I could lead always thinking about the health and well-being of the community,” Perillo said of choosing to do an interdisciplinary Ph.D. “Now I’m constantly thinking about the health of individuals and communities.”

Perillo went on to serve as associate dean of students at Davidson College in North Carolina, assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and then vice president of student affairs at Virginia Tech. 

During her time at Virginia Tech, Perillo worked to ensure that the counseling center, health center and all of the student wellness centers were in the same area, so they could work together to help students take care of the totality of themselves—socially, mentally, spiritually and physically. 

Perillo says at the University of Maryland, there are far more students who are underrepresented and underserved than at Virginia Tech, a population she is excited to work with. 

She hopes that the well-being of students will become a priority during her time at Maryland, as they work together to better leverage campus messages and experiences to make sure students, faculty and staff are well and thriving. 

“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” Perillo said. “We can do some pretty amazing things together.”