From the President, re: Senior Leadership Retirements

April 24, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings! I hope you are all feeling energized as we approach the conclusion of the fall semester, with Honors Convocation, Commencement, and a host of other events being held to celebrate our scholars over the next few weeks.

As the academic year draws to a close, we will also be bidding farewell to three members of the Southern’s senior leadership team, all of whom have made major contributions to the university over many years. Mark Rozewski (Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration); Diane Ariza (Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and Dennis Reiman (Vice President, Technology & Chief Information Officer), will all be retiring this summer.

Mark joined the university as Executive Vice President in 2015, also serving a short term as Interim President the following year. Despite the fiscal challenges that Southern has faced in recent years, Mark has played a major role in stabilizing the university’s finances. He has also displayed vision and leadership in transforming the campus with several of the major buildings that we see in place today, including the Academic Science and Laboratory Building, the Barack H. Obama University Magnet School, the College of Health and Human Services Building, and the new home for the School of Business.

Diane joined the university as its inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2020. In the subsequent years, she has built the division through targeted hires. In 2021, she initiated a three-year DEI strategic action plan with support from the DEI Advisory Council, launched the Campus Climate Support Program, and introduced a series of restorative approaches and practices. Diane’s work has helped to establish diversity, equity and inclusion at the core of our campuswide commitment to social justice.

Dennis joined the university as Associate CIO in 2014 and was appointed CIO three years later. Under Dennis’ leadership, information technology at Southern has been transformed in many ways. These include the replacement and modernization of the entire network and wireless infrastructure; the migration of Banner to the Cloud and multiple upgrades to classrooms and similar spaces to enhance the teaching and learning environments.

I am sure that you will all join me in wishing Mark, Diane and Dennis well and thanking them for their exemplary dedication to the advancement of Southern and our scholars. There will be an opportunity to congratulate them, in person, in the coming weeks. National searches will be held for all three positions and interim appointments will be announced shortly. Southern is on an upward trajectory in many ways, including enrollment growth, external support, community engagement and innovative academic programming - and we will fill these senior leadership vacancies with intentionality so that we maintain our forward momentum.

With this momentum comes two new hires in key roles within our campus community. Mufu Weng has assumed the role of Director of Financial Planning and Budgets after performing similar duties at Western Connecticut State University since 2021. Mufu will continue the work of Barbara Mallick, the outgoing Director of Financial Planning & Information Services. Barbara has astutely managed the university’s finances in this role during the past 26 years. Makiem Miller, most recently Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety at Miami Dade College in Miami, Fla. will start May 3 as Chief of Police at Southern. Interim Chief Ken Rahn will continue to serve with the police department as Deputy Chief.

Before joining Western’s financial management team, Mufu worked at the University of Bridgeport for eight years as an IT reporting analyst, financial reporting analyst and then senior reporting accountant/budget director.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yang-En University, Fujian, China and a master’s degree in technology management from the University of Bridgeport.

Prior to Miami Dade College, Makiem served in a similar role at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC, following 20 years’ experience with the New Haven Police Department as a police officer, detective, and latterly lieutenant and command level district manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sacred Heart University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from American Military University in Charles Town, WV.

Mufu and Makiem bring valuable experience and management skills to their respective new roles. Please join me in giving them a warm Owl welcome when you meet them on campus in these coming weeks. I wish you a productive and invigorating end to the semester!


Dr. Dwayne Smith
Interim President