Shea Kidd Brown named new Vice President for Campus Life

After a national search process, a successor to Penny Rue has been named


Christa Dutton, Staff Writer

After a months-long national search process, Dr. Shea Kidd Brown was appointed as Wake Forest’s new Vice President for Campus Life on Dec. 9.

Kidd Brown joins Wake Forest from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where she currently serves as the dean of students and associate vice chancellor for student life.

In an email announcement sent to the student body, President Susan Wente expressed her excitement for the ways Kidd Brown will impact the campus community. 

Dr. Kidd Brown is exceptionally well-qualified to both meet the needs of students and expand opportunities for engagement,” Wente wrote. “She has a gift for connecting in meaningful ways with students and campus partners and is committed to ensuring all students can feel a sense of belonging and thrive here.” 

Kidd Brown’s responsibilities at Wake Forest will include looking after the wellbeing and development of students as well as overseeing various offices like Residence Life and Housing, the Office of the Dean of Students and the University Counseling Center. 

A search committee comprised of faculty members, students, administrators and Board of Trustees representatives recommended Kidd Brown’s appointment. 

Senior and Student Body President Ally Swartzberg was a member of the search committee. She met with Kidd Brown during the search process and was impressed by the ways she demonstrates care for students. 

“I was fortunate to meet Dr. Kidd Brown on multiple occasions throughout the VPCL interview and selection process,” Swartzberg said. “What remains most salient from those encounters is her genuine care for students, evidenced not only by the programming she has implemented at prior institutions and may bring to Wake Forest, but also by the way she enters a space with students: the thoughtful questions she asks and the intuitive responses she gives.”

Kidd Brown received her B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi, her M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia and her Ph.D. in Educational Research from the University of Memphis. Her scholarship focused on racial identity development in African-American college students. 

After finishing her education, she has spent the last 15 years working in college administration. During her time at UT, she led several initiatives that promoted student engagement and belonging. She led “Rocky Topics”, conversation events designed to foster meaningful dialogue about difficult issues. She also hosted “Milkshake Mondays” in which she invited students to speak with her over milkshakes. She created both of these efforts as a part of the “Vol is a Verb” campaign that was built to encourage belonging and embrace diversity. 

Kidd Brown begins her tenure on Jan. 1, 2022, and will succeed Penny Rue, who has served in the role since 2013.