Welcome from Dr. Patti Helton

Patti Helton

Dear USF students, faculty, and staff,

Welcome to Student Success.  It is my pleasure and privilege to serve as your St. Petersburg Regional Vice Chancellor for Student Success.  I share my warmest welcome to all who are returning or arriving for the first time to our beautiful and energetic campus.  Student Success is functionally organized as follows:

  • Campus Recreation:  Aquatics and Safety, Fitness, Sports Programs, Outdoor Adventures 
  • Dean of Students:  Housing and Residence Life, Military and Veterans Success Center, Student Conduct & Ethical Development, Student Life & Engagement (including Harborside Activities Board, Multicultural Affairs, Student Organizations, and Student Government), Student Outreach and Support (including USF Pearls and the Food Pantry), and Title IX 
  • Enrollment & Transitions:  Admissions, Advising, Financial Aid, Campus Registrar, Career Services, COMPASS (including New Student Experience, Advocacy, Orientation, Campus Visitation, Pinellas Access to Higher Education (PATHe), and Tutoring (Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center)
  • Student Success Resource Management and the University Student Center:  Provides business, fiscal, human resources, and travel support to departments and programs within Student Success as well as the University Student Center.
  • Wellness Center and Student Accessibility Services:  Student Accessibility Services and Wellness Center (Psychological Services, Medical Services, Prevention Services, Victim Advocacy, and Faculty & Staff Services)

We believe that the quality of campus life is crucial to the success of your student experience.  As mentors and advisors, we seek to serve as your campus advocates and provide assistance with engaging you in the campus community, understanding campus policies and procedures, managing a crisis and assisting in locating appropriate campus resources.  If we can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the Student Success staff – we are here to help.  We encourage you to embrace and enjoy your college experience.  You belong here!

Dr. Patti Helton
Regional Vice Chancellor for Student Success 


As a first-generation college student, Dr. Patti Helton learned early on that education has the power to transform. Dr. Helton has 37 years of experience in higher education as a faculty member and senior administrator. She currently serves as the Regional Vice Chancellor for Student Success at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. Dr. Helton is committed to ensuring transformative learning experiences for all students and has a deep-rooted commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.  She has actively worked to create anti-oppressive campus climates and cultures for students and colleagues at each of the institutions she has served. She oversees all co-curricular programs in admissions, advocacy, campus recreation, enrollment and transitions, health and wellness, housing and residence life, multicultural affairs, new student experience, resource management, student accessibility services, student life and engagement, student outreach and support, veteran services, and the University Student Center.  

Prior to her arrival in St. Petersburg in 2016, Dr. Helton served as Associate Provost for Student Life and Senior Adjunct Faculty at the University of Denver for 13 years. In this Senior Student Affairs role, she developed a culture of care highlighted by Student Outreach and Support and helped conceptualize and create the Center for Advocacy, Prevention and Empowerment (CAPE) - a resource for survivor healing through advocacy and support. Dr. Helton began her academic career at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she served as an Assistant Professor of Education, department chair, athletic director, volleyball, and softball coach and eventually the Vice President for Student Life. She teaches, consults, and speaks on student development, social justice and inclusion, leadership, strategic planning, and building highly effective teams.

Dr. Helton earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Virginia; a M.Ed. in Kinesiology and Health Science from Stephen F. Austin State; and a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Oklahoma City University. In her free time, Patti enjoys spending time with family and friends, engaging in the arts, sporting events, outdoor activities, reading, scootering, and traveling.