All Hail, Niki Rudolph!


In New Orleans when we love something or someone or feel a large measure of gratitude we use the phrase: All Hail. So today, after the month long celebration of women SSAOs I’d like to collectively say: All Hail, Niki Rudolph.

Her involvement in the on-line and IRL communities of WLSALT, SAwomenlead, and the Women’s Leadership Insititute (WLI) are extraordinary. True to the mission, Niki has been immersed in supporting, affirming, lifting and transforming.

Have you been to Niki’s blog, “The Courage For Mine?” I invite you to take a good, long look. What you’ll find is a perfect example of intent and behavior matching; in other words, why it is so easy to trust Niki.

She opens her blog with Ayn Rand’s quote, “Show me your achievement – and the knowledge will give me courage for mine.” Beautiful! The quote highlights perfectly why Niki would take on the daunting task of celebrating 31 Senior Student Affairs Officers. She did it because she thoughtfully balances the wonderful skill of recognizing and celebrating others strengths and talents. Niki takes joy in seeing others passion and fire for their work; and enjoys igniting that and developing it in others.

Niki exudes a burning bright love of learning. Yes, she loves books, and too, she is infectious with her inquisitive nature. She listens well; she seeks opinions, rolls them around and returns them to the sender for more introspection. She’s an idea gal, a gatherer of sorts, a keen observer on all things student affairs and stuff that holds dreams and life time goals. If you know Niki, you know how large a heart she has, so it’s no surprise it can hold both the keen and important.

Niki is flat out fun. Her smile invites you to want to know her better. The invitation exists because as she says, the more she learns of others well-doing and well- being; the more courage it gives her to live her best self.

Igniting passion for her profession, the joy she gets from lighting up student engagement suggests that Niki Rudolph has found “the space between the logs.”
How grateful we are for her burning love of life and learning. This one’s for you, Niki with thanksgiving!


What makes a fire burn
in space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed into tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of fuel
together, that makes fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.

A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.
-Judy Brown