Peter Loganbill, Collegian news editor: “When you were about 21, you made a set of goals?”
Thomas Lane, vice president of student life and dean of students: “Yeah, a mission statement, a personal mission statement. There was a book that really changed me. Sometimes you find these books, and for whatever is going on in your life, you’re really receptive to the message, that that book or that film or that piece of music, you know, might be offering you. I think that was one of those times where I found a book, I was involved in student center board as a leader, and the book was ‘[The] 7 Habits for Highly Effective People.’ I think I might have been wanting to maybe run more effective meetings. I can’t remember why I was in the bookstore looking for a leadership book, but that was the one I came across.
“It was by Stephen Covey, and you know, just the content of the book just resonated so thoroughly with me, and it just made so much sense. Both in terms of how you work on for your self-leadership, you have to work internally and figure out what’s important to you, what are your values? What are your, you know, what principles are you going to live by, and then that’s going to then emanate, you know, externally. It made a big impact on me, and so part of that book was creating a personal mission statement. So I took the time to do that. And, you know, those values that I worked through, to try to clarify what was important to me, you know, integrity, community, mentoring, those kind of bubbled up, and so they’ve stayed with me all this time.”
Loganbill: “When did you start wanting to emphasize the importance of awareness of mental health?”
Lane: “I think that really came about when I became the dean of students at Missouri State. I think that was probably when the topic of college student mental health really hit home for me, because I was working in that space quite a bit and also ended up supervising, as dean of students and associate vice president, the counseling center was one of my areas. And so, [I] really got to learn a lot about the function that that particular student affairs unit plays and just the conversations that I was having with students and some of the challenges that students were discussing, as we were talking about, you know, their experience on campus and student success and what barriers were.
“And then, certainly, mental health conversations that occurred with students who might have had to withdraw from the institution based upon a mental health challenge that they might have been experiencing. And then of course, the more tragic situations are student death by suicide. And that was, you know, when that first student death by suicide that I had, that was a real pivotal moment for me.”
Interested in learning more about Thomas Lane in this Q&A? Check out the “Collegian Kultivate” podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.