IU appointed Philemon Yebei as the new assistant vice president for administration beginning March 1.
Yebei will succeed Steve Keucher, who retired at the end of last year after working at IU for 30 years, according to a press release from the University.
"I'm super excited,” Yebei said. “I was a student on the Bloomington campus a few years back, because I did my masters and my doctorate on the Bloomington campus so I'm pretty happy to be getting back to Bloomington."
Yebei worked in budget administration and finance for the last seven years at IU Kokomo. March 1 he will be managing the University Academic Affairs budget and administration and acting as a liaison for IU’s regional campuses.
As a liaison, Yebei said his initial plans are to familiarize himself with the pulse of the regional campuses by visiting them regularly.
"I'm really excited about what's happening on the regional campuses and the different initiatives that we have going that are directly tied to student success and student engagement," Yebei said.
He said he’s excited to tackle low enrollment on a larger scale, due in part to the high school graduation rate, but said it’s too early to know what his specific plans may be.
Yebei said he would miss the people he worked with in Kokomo. He said he was privileged to work with a great team of people there.
Todd Gambill, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management at IU Kokomo, is a friend of Yebei’s. They’ve known each other for five years, having both started at IU Kokomo around the same time.
“They don’t hire clowns down in Bloomington for roles like this,” Gambill said. “He knows what he’s doing.”
Yebei doesn’t start with "no," Gambill said. Yebei tries to get done whatever it is that you’re trying to do for students or for the University.
Gambill recalled times when he was making a pitch to Yebei to waive late fees for a student who had extenuating circumstances. He said Yebei was always willing to help.
“I think he errs on the side of students,” Gambill said.
Yebei has charisma and a good sense of humor, Gambill said. At IU-Kokomo, Gambill said Yebei’s nickname is P$, pronounced “P money.” One year, Yebei was the coach of the intramural staff basketball team.
“He's a welcome addition at the board table and at the dinner table,” Gambill said.
Yabei received both his masters in applied health and his doctorate in higher education administration while studying at IU Bloomington. He said he's looking forward to being back on campus.
"You know how beautiful the Bloomington campus is, whether it's in the spring or in the fall,” Yebei said. “I love to walk along Jordan river, I love to just pretty much spend time at the Arboretum over by the library.”
Yebei is also looking forward to the international restaurants on Fourth Street, Uptown Cafe on Kirkwood Avenue and the Crazy Horse.
Gambill said he’s sad IU-Kokomo is losing Yebei, but he’s happy for him to be making this step.
“He certainly has been an integral part of helping us be successful,” Gambill said.
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