Union College selected a second new vice president this year, appointing Kim Canine as vice president for Student Services this week. Canine, who came to Union last July as associate dean of students, will assume the role to be vacated by Linda Becker this summer.
Becker has served in the vice president role since 2001 and will assist the president with special projects until she retires in October. In retirement, she will continue as director of Union’s leadership minor program.
After only one school year on campus, Canine is happy to take a greater role in student life at Union. “Union College is a phenomenal place,” she said. “We have a great foundation here, and moving forward I believe we will find even more opportunities to provide what students need to grow and be healthy, well-rounded individuals.”
“We are excited that Kim Canine has agreed to expand her role in Student Services,” said Vinita Sauder, president of Union College. “Her infectious energy and extensive experience will be a great asset to our leadership team, and I know she will work tirelessly to serve the students of Union College.”
Canine’s student services experience dates back to her time as a student at La Sierra University where she served as student government president. She earned both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA at La Sierra before taking a job in the student services office there. She also worked as an assistant women’s dean at her alma mater and as an academy dean before returning to La Sierra to be director of the Office of Student Activities.
As associate dean at Union, Canine was involved in many areas of student life, including supporting the student government and campus clubs, overseeing Union’s new student orientation week and implementing a new online management and communication tool for students and employees—dubbed Squirrel Hub.
“We are very blessed to have someone like Kim Canine step into such an important role on our campus,” said Drew Mekelburg, student government president for the 2015-16 school year. “I first met her at a convention last year and I knew she would be a good fit for Union. She immediately stepped in and brought excellent energy to our team. Not only does she have a passion for student government, but her passion for students, in general, is very clear.”
Madison Wagnaar, Union’s student government vice president for social activities, agreed. “Kim Canine is enthusiastic about our events, about Union and about us as students; and it’s not hard to see,” she said. “She is always laughing with us, leading us, mourning with us and cheering us—she has demonstrated that she will do anything for us. Union is lucky to have her.”
For Canine, experience has taught her the importance of empowering students. “The more you empower people, the more they grow,” she said. “It is so important to give them a safe space to learn—and to make mistakes. But when they see that you believe in them, they grow and flourish. I have been blessed with great mentors over the years who did that for me.”
Working in student services has become her calling. “College should be one of the best and most important times in a person’s life,” she said. “Students are making decisions about a career, a life partner, friends and most importantly, discovering God for themselves. I am passionate about intentionally developing ways to help students make good decisions and develop healthy habits that will serve them well the rest of their lives.”
Canine is married to Chris, a 1996 Union graduate, who works as a property manager in Lincoln. The couple has two children, Zeldon, nine and Adisyn, six.
By Ryan Teller, director of Public Relations