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Rodney Mitchell, associate dean of students, dies at 45

Rodney Mitchell, associate dean of students, dies at 45

February 26
15:47 2018

UNT’s Associate Dean of Students Rodney Mitchell, 45, died in his sleep Sunday night. The cause of his death is unknown.

“[Mitchell’s] smile and the way he helped students was infectious,” Dean of Students Maureen McGuinness said, who worked closely with Mitchell. “I can’t think of a better man that I’ve ever known in my lifetime.”

Mitchell has been associate dean since 2013, helping students with withdrawals, issues affecting them in school and student hospitalizations.

Mitchell started the UNT food pantry and was the director of the TRIO program, which helps low-income students overcome class, social and cultural barriers. Mitchell also worked with a number of students before they entered college through the Upward Bound program.

“Rodney was big on helping people,” McGuinness said. “He had a very caring heart. He would do anything for anybody.”

McGuinness knew Mitchell for 20 years. In 1997, they were hall directors together at College Inn. She said he was selfless and helped students who faced many obstacles in school.

“He just didn’t have a bad bone in his body, and his impact was immense in this institution,” McGuinness said.

Mitchell obtained his Bachelor of Applied Arts Sciences and Master’s in public administration at UNT. Survivors include his wife, Melanie Mitchell, who works at the UNT Learning Center, and a son, who is in middle school.

“He was definitely one of the best men that ever walked the face of this earth as well as this institution,” McGuinness said.

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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13 Comments

  1. Samjb
    Samjb February 26, 16:30

    What a loss, to the university, and to his family. There are a lot of students who graduated thanks to his ability to find resources so they could succeed in school.May he rest in peace.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Jenny
    Jenny February 26, 18:48

    Rodney was one of the dearest friends I’ve ever known. He would do anything to help someone in need. I worked with him in Upward Bound starting 25+ years ago. He was like a big brother, mentor, father, uncle for all the kids in Upward Bound. I am so thankful that my own sons got to meet Rodney this summer in the Dean of Students Office, and I’m so thankful that I got to hug him one more time.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Katie Olson
    Katie Olson February 26, 19:38

    I’m a former Upward Bound student. I graduated from TWU in 2016. When I first started UB I was an shy, nervous sophomore who wanted to go to college, but I thought that was out of my reach. Rodney acted like a father figure to all of us kids and helped push us in the right direction. He gave my dad some sound advice raising two children on his own and for that my family is grateful. I accomplished my dream of going to college mainly because of Upward Bound. There will never be another individual like him who believed in students so much. I wish his family all the love and support in the world.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mike E
    Mike E February 26, 20:56

    Rodney Mitchell and I have been friends since high school in San Antonio. We were in each other’s weddings and all other life changing event. He was a great man who will be dearly missed by all. And I especially know the UNT community> I witnessed first hand the love he had for UNT and that UNT had for him. My hear goes out to Melanie, Hayden , and the rest of his family. Also to his Mean Green Family, in which he will be greatly missed.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Mary
    Mary February 26, 21:30

    My heart breaks at this news, a fine man and Family man.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Brandon
    Brandon February 27, 07:09

    Thanks for the man you were Rodney, and for giving me something to aspire to. I’ll miss you “big bro”.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Eagle Post mailroom
    Eagle Post mailroom February 27, 08:27

    What an awesome man, always say good morning when going by Eagle Post, always smiling or weaving. We are going to miss him & friendly smile. Our condolences to the families & may thy light shine upon him. We gonna miss you Rodney.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Anon
    Anon February 27, 09:41

    Rodney was one of the people who saved my life only six months ago when I was having suicidal thoughts. He made me feel more human in the moments I needed it most. I hope he finds peace, he deserves it more than most people I know.

    Reply to this comment
  9. J.la
    J.la February 27, 16:46

    I heard about Rodney Mitchell’s death through a friend I made those 25+ years ago as a high school student with Upward Bound. Rodney waa an amazing guy that, as Jenny said, looked out for all of us. I am proud to have known him.

    Upward Bound class of ’95
    UNT class of ’98

    Reply to this comment
  10. Doryce
    Doryce February 27, 18:48

    I am so sorry to hear this. He will be missed!!!!!

    Doryce Judd

    Reply to this comment
  11. EJ
    EJ February 27, 22:08

    Wow, I saw the bouquet of flowers in front of the office today and I was so surprised, aw man, I hope they find out… :'(

    Reply to this comment
  12. Danitra
    Danitra March 01, 05:55

    I had a chance to meet Rodney a big heart always had a smile on his face he will be truely miss.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Randell
    Randell March 03, 20:51

    I have known Rodney since 97. I rode in his van to TRHA. Years later he would help me as the Associate Dean.

    Randell Resneder
    B.S. 04 M.S. 17

    Reply to this comment

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