Please meet Todd Cellini, Assistant Vice Chancellor for South Campuses and Savannah Campus President; New President of the Board at Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Shelter

Todd Cellini
Todd Cellini

Q: How long have you been at South University?
A: Since July 2008.

Q: What is your background?
After graduating from Binghamton University I went to Oswego (N.Y.) State and became a student hall director. I started to work my way south and moved to the University of South Carolina in Columbus as the resident life coordinator and student life instructor.

Q: What was your first position at South University
A: In 2008 I was the dean of students position. I was promoted to president in 2009.

Q: What duties are you responsible for at South?
A: I run the day to day operations of South University in Savannah, GA and provide oversight to the 12-month MBA Program, along with the Columbia, SC campus, and Virginia Beach, VA campus. I handle all different aspects of the university such as: admissions, academic affairs, student affairs, finance, facilities, public relations and human resources.

Q: What 
part of the 

passionate about?
A: Definitely the students. I had incredible educational mentors and want to return the favor by helping students reach their potential. No day is ever the same. I have 1,500 students and watching their growth from the day they enter South University until their Commencement ceremony is very rewarding. I am a first generation college graduate. I’ve always valued education and it is gratifying to see the difference it makes and how our Alumni help grow their local economies and make life better for all.

Q: What 
A: Most recently I was recognized as an Outstanding Contributor by the United Way of the Coastal Empire during their Victory Celebration. While all awards are humbling, these types of awards give me the greatest pleasure as they show the impact I’m having in our local community, beyond just my employment.

Q: How did you first got involved in with Park Place Outreach – Youth Emergency Shelter?
A: I get multiple requests for my service on nonprofit boards and I’m very selective about which ones I commit too. I was approached a little over two years ago by two board members, Deb Thompson from WSAV and Jack Levine from Morgan Stanley, and as soon as I walked into the facility, I fell in love with it. It lined up well with my personal values and philosophy, and as an educator I find it very important to work with youth.

Q: What has surprised you most about working with Park Place Outreach?
A: There are so many incredible things about the organization. All of their services are free and in addition to being dedicated to the kids, they even work to reunite families through counseling and other aids. Although there are a lot of great aspects to PPO, the most unbelievable part is the level of connection that the staff makes with the children- it makes everything we do there worthwhile.

Q: Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to work with PPO?
A: Deb Thompson from WSAV was on the board and originally told me about the organization. The tour of the home she gave me sealed the deal. Besides that, being recognized by the United Way of the Coastal Empire also showed me that the organization was worth my investment and time.

Q: Tell me three things that might surprise someone about you?
1. I am a first generation college graduate.
2. For a good cause/charity I’d do almost anything, like edge off a building in the name of fundraising,
3. I was an Environmental Studies/Geography major in undergraduate school.

Q: What do you think will change about Park Place Outreach over the next five years?
A: Somethings will never change, like how much Park Place Outreach will continue to help youth in the area. However, I think Park Place Outreach will become a leader in youth outreach in our community, not just a Youth Emergency Shelter.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t working or volunteering?
A: I spend time with my wife, Kristen, and son Doran. We enjoy local parks and eateries. On the weekends you can usually catch us at any local playground followed by a meal out at one of our favorite local restaurants.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m originally from Monticello, NY, a small town in upstate New York.

Q: What high school did you go to? / What college did you attend? What was your major?
A: I graduated from Monticello High School and then went to Binghamton University where I received a Bachelor Degree in Geography and a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Studies. I stayed at Binghamton to also get my Masters in Social Sciences (Student Affairs Concentration). After that I attended Argosy University and obtained a Doctorate in Education with a focus in Organizational Leadership.

Q: Who is or was your professional mentor?
A: I’ve had a few in my career at each level but throughout the years I’d say it has been combination of my parents. My father, Tony was a politician for 40 years in the Town of Thompson. My mother, Linda worked for nonprofit organizations like United Way and YMCA her entire career. If you mix those two occupations together you get a blend of how I’ve led my professional career.

Q: Tell me about your family.
A: My wife Kristen works for Bluknowledge, a local education consulting firm in Savannah; she is the person that motivates me every day and has brought stability and an equal partnership to my life. We have a two-and-a-half year old son Doran. He is the ball of energy that makes every day exciting.

Q: What is your favorite book to read?
A: My favorite book is “Tuesday with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. The story reinforces what is most important in life. Recently, I’ve been hooked by author Patrick Lencioni who writes a bunch of different organizational health/management books.

Q: What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
A: Time with my family. I work hard; I volunteer hard but they keep me grounded.

Q: What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
A: Baseball – I’m a huge New York Mets fan.

Q: What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
A: Possibly edge off the building for Park Place Outreach. Over the Edge happens every year on Halloween day and organizations raise money to either send someone over the edge, or keep them from doing it! It’s a great way to raise moral in the workplace and experience something you’ve never done before.

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