Romando Nash, USC’s new associate dean and executive director of Residential Education, has two very different graduate degrees: an MA in counseling and a JD. And that has turned out to be the perfect combination for his career in student affairs.
From the age of 3, Nash dreamed of becoming an attorney and worked hard to earn the perfect set of credentials: BAs in political science and history from Notre Dame de Namur University and a JD with an emphasis in juvenile delinquency law from Santa Clara University. Then, during a recruitment tour of a Bay Area firm, he stepped into a windowless, basement-level law library and changed his mind.
“I walked around getting a tour thinking, 90 hours a week in the basement. I’m too young to do this right now,” he recalled. “I decided that I didn’t want to practice law at that time.”
Fortunately, he had worked as a resident assistant and student government vice president as an undergraduate and as a graduate hall director during law school. When a full-time student affairs position opened up at Santa Clara, he applied, got the job and began his career. At Santa Clara, he simultaneously earned his MA in counseling with an emphasis in correctional psychology and served in a variety of professional roles.
After five years at Santa Clara, he accepted a job at Seattle University as associate director for Housing and Residence Life, before being promoted to director for Residential Learning Communities, and finally to director for Housing and Residence Life. Loyola University Chicago then recruited him to become director for Residence Life.
Now he’s thrilled to have moved west with his wife and 4-year-old son to begin the next chapter of his career in Residential Education at USC.
“You hear all the time about the Trojan Family,” he said. “That starts once students are accepted and participate in orientation. We need to build on that and make that even more of a visible, tangible thing to them while they’re spending time in the residence halls.”
Nash acknowledged that his new “job description is the kitchen sink,” but he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“The beauty of housing and residence life work is that they call us the generalists, meaning that we do a little bit of everything,” he said. “So we do programming and conduct. We do counseling sometimes. We do training and development and multicultural work. The opportunity to really get involved in multiple areas and to be able to be the pulse of an institution or of a division is what keeps me involved.”