Josh Lucas, Executive Director of Student Engagement

I had incredible mentors in undergraduate and graduate school who provided me so many opportunities, and I wanted to give back. 

Josh Lucas on a city street in a white sweater


I see you have degrees from the Universities of Tennessee and Kentucky, and then worked at Kentucky for a few years. What drew you to Columbia?

I actually lived in New York City between undergraduate and graduate school to pursue acting. I loved the city and, after I decided to go to graduate school for higher education in student affairs, knew I wanted to make my way back one day. Fortunately, a job opportunity at Columbia brought me back. At the time, it was a position that allowed me to work on Orientation, student group advising and community building programs.

What’s your typical day?

No day is the same. You can think you know what to expect, but something could arise that needs immediate attention, whether that is a student group concern or supporting my team. Each day has meetings with students, staff and campus partners. And of course, lots of emails. Coffee is my constant in the day. I have it morning, noon and night!

What’s the best part of your job?

Interacting with students. It’s the reason I wanted to be in student affairs. I had incredible mentors in undergraduate and graduate school who provided me so many opportunities, and I wanted to give back. Whether that is conversations in my office or at campus traditions, retreats or fun programs, I love seeing students enjoy their College experience, and the fact that I get to help create opportunities for them is the best.

You have a lot of involvement with student group advising. How do you view the place of those activities within students’ My Columbia College Journey?

I believe many students find a home and community at Columbia within their student group, which then becomes a part of their Journey. The core competencies outlined in the Journey can all be found within a student group, from teamwork and collaboration, to oral and written communication, to civic and individual responsibility, to wellness and resilience.

What’s one thing about yourself that would surprise readers?

That’s a tough question, mainly because I feel I’m open with my students, staff and campus partners, but I’ll try to name a few: I was a first-generation college student, I was a commuter in undergraduate, I’ve run the New York City Marathon, I have a full-sleeve tattoo (with plans for more), I love to travel, I am an uncle, I have been with my husband, Ryan, for over nine years and married for a little over a year, and I am extremely close to my family.