December 9, 2013



Tammi Watson, First Year Experience and Retention director, at or 657-2044
University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Kurt Laudicina, Montana State University Billings alumnus and employee with extensive experience in student advising and recruitment, was recently named Assistant Director of First Year Experience and Retention.

Kurt Laudicina

MSU Billings has increased freshman student retention by over 3 percent this past year.  The increase can be attributed to an institutional retention initiative that started in 2012 which included the placement of five college success specialists in each of the respective colleges.  Laudicina will be tasked with continuing a strong showing in overall student retention.


Laudicina has served as an employee in various capacities at MSUB. His career began in 2006 as an online admissions counselor. From there, he’s worked as a new student specialist for online students; e-communications coordinator and publications designer; and most recently, as a college success specialist.


As assistant director, Laudicina is responsible for the development and assessment of retention strategies for the University and will supervise a team of four college student success specialists who offer guidance for freshman MSUB students.


“I will work hard to enhance the reputation of our programs, strengthen our enrollment and retention numbers and expand the First Year Experience program,” Laudicina said.


Under the supervision of Tammi Watson, director of New Student and Retention Services, Laudicina will also collaborate with staff in student affairs and faculty in academic affairs to help identify services and strategies to assist underrepresented and non-traditional students.


Watson said the assistant director search process yielded a strong field of candidates, but Laudicina has demonstrated during his seven-year tenure at MSUB the leadership needed for such a demanding post.


a student studying on the MSUB campusWith a strong vision and technical expertise, Watson said Laudicina knows how to speak to today’s students while bringing a combination of knowledge and creativity to the position as the department continues to grow its retention efforts.


“Kurt has been a valuable member of MSUB for several years, and an integral component of the First Year Experience and Retention team for the past year,” Watson said. “He is talented, great with students inside and outside the classroom, and always strives for excellence.”


Originally from Rockford, Ill., 33-year-old Laudicina came to MSUB as a first-year student in 1998. Since his arrival, he’s earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a marketing option in 2003 as well as a master’s degree in public relations in 2009.


Most recent, Laudicina is a doctoral candidate in the field of learning technology from Pepperdine University. He will present his dissertation in 2014 titled, Helping College Students: First Year Seminars.


“The first year experience is crucial in determining whether a student will continue on into their second year, and so forth,” Laudicina said. “It’s important that we build a strong foundation for students to ensure a successful college education and experience for them. And I look forward to doing just that in my new position—being a steward of student success, experience and retention.” 


For additional information on the First Year Experience at MSUB visit,


PHOTOS ABOVE: Kurt Laudicina; a student studying in the Student Union Building