Posted: 6/14/12

TAMIU 42-Year Employee Celebrates Retirement



One of Texas A&M International University’s most familiar faces to students will soon leave the campus, the programs he helped build and the hundreds of students he helped succeed. 

University students, faculty and friends gathered June 11to bid David VerMilyea, affectionately known as “Mr. V,” good-bye as he retires after 42 years of service. VerMilyea is TAMIU’s director of international student services at TAMIU.

VerMilyea, who joined the University in 1970, has seen it grow from a shared study carrel on the downtown campus of then-Laredo Junior College, to a 300-acre regional University. 

And he’s been a dynamic part of that growth, mostly in roles assisting and guiding students, many who come to TAMIU from around the world.  Among his many hats, he’s served as director of Student Services, director of Administrative Services, director of the Learning Resource Center, director of Student Development and presently, director of International Student Services.

Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president, said VerMilyea’s service has been impressive.

“In these days of impermanence, having a force like Dave around for most of this University’s life has been a rare and permanent privilege.  He has relentless drive and energy and motivates students to push themselves forward to explore new horizons and new ways of thinking.  His contributions have been absolutely pivotal for hundreds of students here and we will truly miss him,”  Dr. Keck said.

Mary Treviño, TAMIU associate vice president for Academic Affairs, who joined the University one month after VerMilyea, said she has been honored to work with him.

“I have always admired his consistency, his commitment and his strong service to the students he serves.  I also have some fond memories, including the first time we interacted outside the office and built an institutional float for use in the WBCA parade.  We had great fun…and I have photos for evidence,” she said.

Cornelius Kipkorir, president of TAMIU’s Association of International Students called VerMilyea “special.”

“Mr. VerMilyea is a special individual,” said Kipkorir, who is from Kenya. “He’s a father figure in the sense that he went out of his way to make sure that all international students had everything they needed and were comfortable on and off campus. Whether they needed help going shopping, decorating their room or making plans so they could visit other cities in Texas, he was there for everything from the simplest to the most complex.”

He said it would be difficult to replace VerMilyea.

“He was so knowledgeable about cultures and customs of other countries, “ Kipkorir said,  “That’s why we felt comfortable with him. He always listened and tried to gain new knowledge from students, all the while, sharing the U.S. perspective with us. He will be thoroughly missed by the international community at TAMIU…He was the face of ‘international’ in TAMIU,” Kipkorir observed.

Gerardo Alba, TAMIU director of Student Services, first experienced VerMilyea as a student. “Mr. V.” became an eventual colleague to Alba, who said VerMilyea has taken on many roles for many people.

“David Vermilyea is a true TAMIU icon. I had the pleasure of working with him as a student at TAMIU in 1998 as a member of the Student Government Association, where he served as advisor and mentor to students. His dedication to the student experience is something I have always appreciated and desire to emulate in my interactions with students.  He truly inspired me to look at the opportunities in higher education and even though I didn’t know it then, he may have served as a catalyst to where I am today.  He has served as advisor, friend and father figure to so many international students and the wisdom we have all gained from him will carry us forward.  His work lives on in thousands,” Alba concluded.

For additional information, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, email prmis@tamiu.edu , click on tamiu.edu or visit the University’s social media sites on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu