Gary Van Zinderen

Gary Van Zinderen is a Doctoral student at the University of North Dakota and currently resides in Fargo, ND. With over 20 years of experience in higher education, Gary has dedicated his life to cultivating environments that foster opportunities to experience the exchange of thoughts, beliefs, and information.


Frostburg State University


Ithaca College


Johns Hopkins University

While serving for such institutions as Frostburg State University, Ithaca College, and Johns Hopkins University, Gary Van Zinderen has assumed a variety of responsibilities that bridge his passions for academics and student affairs.

Gary Van Zinderen’s Professional Experience


gary van zinderen photoWhile working at the University of Jamestown, Gary Van Zinderen played an instrumental role in developing student life on campus. He is responsible for overall supervision and leadership of the Division of Student Life, Residence Life, Orientation, Student Conduct, Student Activities, Intramurals, Foss Wellness Center, Campus Safety, and Conference Services.

Gary Van Zinderen has truly enjoyed having the opportunity to build, craft, and develop new programs for the school in an effort to improve campus culture. In addition to the creation of new student activities and a dynamic student safety program, Gary completely developed a new freshman orientation that includes both summer and fall programs to help students get acquainted with the school and successfully transition to college life.


Frostburg University

Previously, Gary served as both the Director of Student Activities and Director of the Lane University Center at Frostburg University. His tenure with the University began just before the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks. He spent a lot of time working with students who were directly impacted by these events. This was a very impactful and defining time for both the community and Gary, himself. Having the opportunity to empower students during such a difficult time really reaffirmed why he loves to work in student affairs and help people with their overall growth.

Before his 6 year tenure with Frostburg University, Gary Van Zinderen was the Assistant Director of Campus Center, Activities, and Orientation at Ithaca College. During this time, Gary was heavily involved with major concert productions and served as the Operations Coordinator and Conference Chair for the NACA East Coast Regional Conference.

Ithaca College

Gary also created and implemented the “Community Plunge,” a volunteer program that brought first-year students and members of the local community together in a service-learning program that emphasized team-building, community action, and a personal reflection experience prior to the start of fall classes.

Johns Hopkins University

Gary Van Zinderen’s career began with Johns Hopkins University, where he served as Student Activities Coordinator. He helped out with a wide-range of student activities and orientation programs, including “E-Level,” “The Hop,” and the Spring Fair.

As a leader in the student affairs profession, his goal is to engage students in a challenging and supportive environment with a team approach. He finds it incredibly rewarding to watch students grow into responsible members of a global community who value difference and possess moral sensitivity.

Gary Van Zinderen understands that education and growth is a lifelong process. He aims to instill these values in his students by helping them find their way and preparing them for change. He also seeks out opportunities for personal growth in his own life.

Gary Van Zinderen’s Education

Gary is currently working towards his PhD in higher education leadership. With a focus on how colleges operate, he has been able to gain a broader understanding of the purpose of academia and how it relates to society as a whole. He is particularly interested in the importance of higher education and how it has changed over the years.

Gary Van Zinderen is currently working to develop an operational definition for “Incivility in Higher Education,” which will serve as a jumping off point for further research into the student behavior trends that currently exist within higher education. With a lifelong passion for building college environments that allow students to thrive, Gary is interested in exploring why students are struggling with interpersonal skills and how schools can better empower their students to succeed.

Gary is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Moorhead, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. During his undergraduate studies, Gary participated in the Eurospring program and spent a semester studying at Oxford University. He later went on to earn his Master’s in College Student Counseling and Personnel Services from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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