Dr. Connie Horton currently serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Pepperdine University, where she has been a passionate champion of student wellness and led the team that created the Resilience-Informed Skills Education (RISE) program.

RISE is a comprehensive resilience education program that reaches all first-year students through an 8-week small group program and is enhanced by numerous other large and small events in the various schools at Pepperdine. RISE was recently featured in Insider Higher Education.

Dr. Horton’s thinking around students’ escalating mental health needs and potential solutions is informed by her experience in previous higher education roles.  She is a licensed psychologist who started as a psychology faculty member at Illinois State University. After gaining tenure and thinking about how she would spend her career, she was recruited to work in Student Affairs at Illinois Wesleyan University. Dr. Horton was the inaugural Director of their Counseling Center. Later, she moved back to her undergraduate alma mater, Pepperdine University, initially to direct their Counseling Center and later to serve as an Associate Dean, an Associate Vice President, and now Vice President for Student Affairs.

She earned her BA in Psychology at Pepperdine, her MA in Counseling at California State University Fullerton, and her doctorate degree at the University of Texas at Austin.  Her early clinical and research interests were in the fields of temperament, child sexual abuse, and domestic violence.  Her more recent publications and presentations are in the area of college student mental health and resilience.