Northwestern University Vice President For Student Affairs Dies

The psychologist and first-generation college graduate passed away Monday after eight years in Evanston.

NU Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin died on June 3, 2019, university officials announced. (via Northwestern University)

EVANSTON, IL — Northwestern University Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin died Monday following “long and valiant battle with cancer,” according to President Morton Schapiro.

Telles-Irvin, 63, was a native of El Paso, Texas, a psychologist and a first-generation college graduate. She studied education at Duke University and earned a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She joined Northwestern in the summer of 2011 and stayed on the job until taking a leave of absence Saturday, according to a university spokesperson.

Her mother was born in 1916 and not allowed to go beyond eighth grade, Telles-Irvin said in a staff profile. Her father was unable to finish college himself, but he encouraged her family to pursue higher education and remember it meant “we had the responsibility of giving back to other or helping others achieve similar dreams,” she said.


“I hope that I have served as a role model and mentor to others who aspire to complete their degrees, especially those who have been discouraged by others who tell them that it can’t be done,” Telles-Irvin said.

In an email to members of the Northwestern community, Schapiro said Telles-Irvin was especially committed to improving the lives of student who came from underrepresented communities. She worked to make sure every Northwestern student felt at home — not easy in a world that has become “increasingly stratified and uncivil,” the university president said. 


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