Leadership Team

Leadership Team

UWC-USA’s president, Dr. Victoria Mora, directs the leadership team to manage the operation of the school. Along with Dr. Mora, the leadership team’s primary focus is the UWC mission and the success, health, and well-being of the students.

With distinguished backgrounds and broad experience in schools, these administrators build relationships with students, National Committees, parents, partners, alumni, other UWC schools, and donors to advance the UWC mission at UWC-USA.

“By embracing our mission to make education a force to unite people, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future our students commit to a set of values that guide their actions and interactions. On campus and beyond. They do so in partnership with a staff who serve as models and mentors and who are dedicated to the same ideals.”

— UWC-USA President Victoria J. Mora

Victoria Mora

President, BA (University of New Mexico), PhD (Yale University)
If you had to choose one value or element of the UWC mission that you think is most important, which would it be?

I believe that the great work of the UWC movement is building positive relationships between people who might otherwise be at odds with each other for historical, cultural, or socio-economic reasons. Friendship is natural to young people. They don’t yet have prejudices that are set in stone. With the kinds of opportunities provided at UWC-USA, they find joy across differences, working, living, and playing together.

Which tradition or annual event at UWC-USA holds particular meaning for you?

That’s a tough call. The Welcome Ceremony is wonderful. The students wave their flags proudly and cheer one another on. The Matriculation Ceremony is a little different. The students sign the matriculation book to formally become part of the school and the UWC movement. Each student is called into community by the previous student signing the book. There is something deeply moving about each student respectfully pronouncing a new name, a new country. It’s what the school is really about.  respectfully. when students sign the matriculation book and formally become part of the school and the UWC movement. For many it’s the first time they realize the breadth and depth of the UWC organization. It’s both moving and joyous.

 

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What quality do our students consistently display that you admire most?

The quality I most love about our students is their openness to try to understand the other. They challenge their own views and opinions as much as they challenge the views and opinions of others. They don’t let themselves settle for “I.” They get the “We” and its vital importance for the future.

What do you do routinely in your work to enhance or improve the educational experience of our students?

What a pleasure it is to meet with people who already know UWC-USA and to introduce it to others for the first time!

Alexis Mamaux

Dean of Academics, BA (Pennsylvania State University), MPIA (University of Pittsburgh)
If you had to choose one value or element of the UWC mission that you think is most important, which would it be?

The core UWC values seem to emanate from the power of idealism–and that’s what I find most compelling about the UWC mission. It is that idealism that brought these students so far from their homes, and it is an optimism and voracious desire to learn so that they can make significant change that truly sets us apart as a movement and has kept me at UWC-USA for so long.

Which tradition or annual event at UWC-USA holds particular meaning for you?

The Welcome Dinner is the one time in the two years where the school community gathers to celebrate both the community which we have all voluntarily joined and the cultural differences that are embodied by the national costumes. From the opening parade to the musical selections and food, there is this blend of all things UWC.

 

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What quality do our students consistently display that you admire most?

In a climate where people have become more insular, our students represent the polar opposite of that. They are accepting of others, and embrace difference–seeking understanding while maintaining their own individualism.

What do you do routinely in your work to enhance or improve the educational experience of our students?

I love walking the classroom hallways. Rather than hurrying from one place to another, I find it incredibly instructive to pause and view our students engaged in learning. This gives me a snapshot of how individual students are doing. I also enjoy standing out in front of the Old Stone Hotel, watching as the students go from one class to the next; there is so much that I can see from their gait, posture, and facial expressions.

 

John Carpenter

Director of Admissions, BA (George Fox College), MA (Portland State University)
If you had to choose one value or element of the UWC mission that you think is most important, which would it be?

Inclusion. I value the fact that at UWC, the emphasis is on acceptance and love for everyone: all countries, all religions, all races, all genders, all abilities.

Which tradition or annual event at UWC-USA holds particular meaning for you?

I love the way we welcome students to campus regardless if that means staying up till 1 am at the airport to wait for a delayed flight or surrounding our first-years with an enormous group hug–cheering and smiling and screaming with enthusiasm when they get to campus.

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What quality do our students consistently display that you admire most?

The one characteristic that I’ve seen students demonstrate consistently is a genuine concern for others, and that creates a strong sense of community and belonging– regardless of differing opinions, backgrounds, and abilities.  People feel connected to one another here.

Describe a couple of things you do routinely in your work to enhance or improve the educational experience of our students.

I believe strongly in making every student feel known, so I take great pains to learn every person’s name and to interact with our “kids” informally every day. I enjoy hearing about how classes are going, which ExEds they’re loving, what books they’re reading. I also enjoy hearing from them on topics related to the news and politics as it relates to their home countries. I feel that students here make me smarter and more aware of the nuances of world events, and that comes from me spending unstructured time with them over dinner, in the library, or going to Walmart.

 

Jonathan Ehrlich

Vice President of Finance & Operations, BA (Middlebury College) MA (University of Vermont), MBA (Rollins College), ABD (Arizona State University)
If you had to choose one value or element of the UWC mission that you think is most important, which would it be?

I would choose mutual responsibility and respect as the most important. We have students from all over the world, from various political systems, and with different cultural values, and by listening to each other and truly honoring each others’ differences these students can grow into understanding and tolerant adults.

Which tradition or annual event at UWC-USA holds particular meaning for you?

To me the Matriculation Ceremony at the start of each year, where students sign their names into the matriculation book and formally become part of the UWC community is the most powerful tradition we have. This tradition welcomes students into a movement and community much greater than themselves, and gives them a family at a time when they are far from home.

 

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What quality do our students consistently display that you admire most?

I see our students being accepting of others as something which occurs daily, and I admire it. We frequently have students over for dinner, and even with students from diverse backgrounds I have only witnessed interest in the differences, and more often, a seeking out of similarities in families and traditions.

 

Mark Hodde ’89

Chief Advancement Officer, BA (CSU-San Bernardino), MPA (USC)
If you had to choose one value or element of the UWC mission that you think is most important, which would it be?

As an alumnus from the class of ’89 I can speak to the ways that very different people become part of a powerful community at UWC-USA. The UWC mission is about building bridges and relationships for peace and a sustainable world. I’ve lived that part of the mission and I know how important it is.

Which tradition or annual event at UWC-USA holds particular meaning for you?

Graduation holds particular meaning for me because it’s the moment when the work we’ve been doing as a community in Montezuma ends and the work of a lifetime for our alumni begins. Graduation is poignant, somber, celebratory, and compelling. I love that it is both a beginning and an ending.

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What quality do our students consistently display that you admire most?

I admire how our students look ahead. They don’t wallow in the past or obsess over the present. They look ahead and think carefully about how they want to be better global citizens.

Please describe a couple of things you do routinely in your work to enhance or improve the educational experience of our students.

My first job is to share the mission and the UWC-USA story with alumni and friends to secure the funding that we need to provide scholarships and support for the school. I spend a lot of time traveling to meet donors and writing letters.

Naomi Swinton ’89

Interim Dean of Students, BA (Chicago), MFA (UNC-Wilmington)
If you had to choose one value or element of the UWC mission that you think is most important, which would it be?

The UWC mission calls us to have difficult conversations with others. These are conversations that increase our understanding of others, enrich our lives, and build relationships. I value these conversations as an integral part of the UWC experience.

Which tradition or annual event at UWC-USA holds particular meaning for you?

The Annual Conference is an opportunity for us to both bring experts from around the world to campus as well as to highlight the expertise that members of our community possess. We listen to speakers, plan for future action, have fun with students from other schools, and grow as a community.

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What quality do our students consistently display that you admire most?

Our students seem to possess a high level of determination. They seem to find ways to overcome obstacles in ways that amaze and impress me.

Please describe a couple of things you do routinely in your work to enhance or improve the educational experience of our students.

As Interim Dean of Students I work to make sure that our community is functioning at a high level, that students are adhering to our community standards, and that parents understand what is happening on campus.