Washington People: Mike Hayes

Helping students redefine leadership


Most institutions of higher learning in the U.S. will say they are student-oriented, but very few allow that ideal to really come to life like Washington University does, according to Mike Hayes, WUSTL’s executive director of Campus Life.

“We’re not setting the tone for programming, the students are doing that, and that’s just unique to Wash U,” says Hayes, in this featured video.

Among other topics, Hayes discusses WUSTL’s approach to empowering student leaders, providing growth opportunities for student groups and leaders, and “light bulb” moments when students begin to challenge the notion of who they are and what kind of leader they may become.

Mike Hayes, front, with his partner, Phil Rothermich, at Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park. The couple lives in University City and between them have four children: Maggie, 24; Mary, 16; Jack, 19; and Danny, 17.

About Mike Hayes

Now in his fourth year heading up the student involvement and leadership team as the university’s executive director of Campus Life, Hayes came to WUSTL from the University of Maryland–College Park in 2009, where he was director of fraternity and sorority life.

Prior to that, he was director of research, graduate studies and professional education at Cornell University, and has worked in higher education since 1987.

In his current role, he provides vision and oversight of programs within Campus Life, including Student Involvement and Leadership, Greek Life, Student Media and social programming organizations.

Hayes earned a master’s degree in college student personnel administration and a bachelor’s in sociology, both from Indiana State University, in addition to doing post-graduate work at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.