National Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportune time to shine the spotlight on Dr. Rand Oliver, National Dean of UI&U. His grandmother’s family hailed from Spain and he is proud of his Hispanic heritage. Rand’s great grandfather, Charles Francisco, was a lawyer and judge in Wisconsin. In addition to his duties at UI&U, Rand serves as Vice President of the Dayton, Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Union serves a more than 25% undergraduate Hispanic adult learner population and is the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division.
Q. What excites you about being a part of higher education?
A. I am a lifelong learner. I inherited the fervor for adult higher education by watching my parents complete their educations. My father graduated from university in 1987 with his BBA. A year later I received my MBA from the same school. My father was career military and my siblings and I watched him study his correspondence courses at night at the kitchen table when he was home. He was always taking classes. My mother was the same way. She went to work in the cafeteria after my youngest sister started elementary school. She was the “cafeteria lady”. She took classes and worked her way up to manager of a school and ultimately to food service director for a school district in Texas. She also taught her colleagues through an area college program. I had excellent role models that believe in higher education.
Q. What attracted you to become part of the Union family?
A. Our students come to us with passion to make change. Union teaches truth. Union’s message to educate adults is one I respect. I am also excited to be part of Union president Dr. Karen Schuster Webb’s vision to create new opportunities for students, faculty, staff, the communities we serve, and to seek new opportunities to serve throughout the world.
Q. What surprises people about you?
A. I am truly an introvert, while being seen as enthusiastic and action oriented. I re-charge my batteries through my reading, art, family activities, and home projects.
Q. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?
A. I am in the best job. I get to be around incredible people doing meaningful work changing lives for the good. How awesome is that?
Q. What is your favorite quote?
A. Fredrick Douglas said he wasn’t free until he could read. Education frees. I am also an admirer of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Q. What is your favorite book, and why?
A. I am an avid reader, sometimes as many as five books in a week and couldn’t choose a favorite book. But I have an office full of good to great ones. Come by and borrow a book.