Duke’s 3,000-plus international students have a new advocate, signaling the university’s commitment to the experience of students from across the world.
Kevin D’Arco, who joined Duke in fall 2021, became Duke’s first senior associate dean of international students in March.
“Duke international students have sought a leader in student affairs who would wake up every day thinking about their needs and ways to make the student experience more welcoming to international students,” said Mary Pat McMahon, vice president and vice provost of student affairs. “Kevin brings the organizational change experience, advocacy and leadership acumen to do just this, and we're thrilled to have him in this key role."
D’Arco is part of the Student Affairs Student Engagement leadership team and oversees I-House while building collaborative relationships with Duke Kunshan University and Duke’s Office of Global Affairs. He will be a key advisor and resource to Duke’s international students.
Before joining Duke, D’Arco worked for 11 years abroad with international students from more than 50 countries as the assistant dean of students at the University of Utah Asia Campus in South Korea and as a director at Carnegie Mellon University's campus in Qatar. At those institutions, D’Arco supported student growth through his work in first-year programming, new student orientation, leadership development, student organizations, student exchange programs, and student conduct.
D'Arco joined Duke in fall 2021 as director of student involvement. He has been advising Duke Student Government and the Student Organization Finance Committee, as well as supporting a team responsible for student organization programming, Duke University Union, Duke Groups and the Arts Annex.
Shruti Desai, associate vice president of student engagement, said D’Arco demonstrated a knack for building relationships during the interview process.
“His humility and willingness to hear opportunities and concern from students also made him our top candidate,” Desai said.
A graduate of The Ohio State University and Texas A&M University, D’Arco completed his doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California in 2019.
D’Arco moved to Durham from South Korea with his wife Katie and two sons, the youngest born at Duke University Hospital. Katie will join Durham Public Schools as a teacher this fall.
Eve Duffy, associate vice provost for global affairs, chaired the search committee, which also included Ling Jin, Karen Weber, Joshua Salaam, Edgar Virguez and Suomo Ammah. Candidates also met with groups of students as part of the interview process.
“It became instantly clear in the interview process that D’Arco is passionate about students,” Duffy said. “He puts them and their needs at the center of his work and his approach. His unique experience making a home for international students at campuses abroad translates well into the Duke culture.”