Dean of students finds time to cruise

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s actually the Sam Houston State University Dean of Students John Yarabeck.

Most students and faculty know Dean Yarabeck as “Dean Yo,” who can be seen expressing his orange-colored love for SHSU in his “Impact Orange” 2005 Jeep Wrangler.

Yarabeck was born and raised in Denver, Colo., where he also attended Colorado State University.

After completing his Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies, he then took an interest in ministry in California, and then returned to CSU to obtain his Masters of Education in college student personnel administration. Yarabeck utilized his education at numerous universities in five different states before coming to SHSU.

Among the many things Yarabeck is involved in, he still finds time to enjoy a childhood obsession with classic cars.

“It started when I was a kid,” Yarabeck said. “My dad took me to a car dealership when I was maybe 13 or 14, and he was in there to buy a family car and I saw the new Barracudas that came out, and they were the ones with the bright new colors and most kids like hotrods. Well fast forward, and I got back into the classic car deal.”

Yarabeck owned a 1970 Barracuda later on in life that he bought at a classic car show.

“It was very rare,” Yarabeck said “It was one of only 596 that were made. Had it not been totaled, it would be worth close to $100,000.”

Yarabeck is also the Vice President of the Huntsville Cruisers, a hot rod club in the Huntsville area where he showcases his 1967 Barracuda.

Along with overseeing the dean of students staff and being in Huntsville Cruisers, Yarabeck chairs the Students of Concerns Team and coordinates the Crisis Team. He also serves as the facilitator of the Freshmen Leaders Program and is the advisor to the Student Government Association.

Yarabeck stated that his greatest achievement at SHSU was starting the Students of Concern team, although he had many things to choose from.

“Starting the Students of Concern team was done in response to what happened at Virginia Tech,” Yarabeck said. “Now we meet weekly to discuss students of concern and do what we need to do to be proactive with the student. We’ve saved three students’ lives because we got them the help they needed just in time. It’s working and [I’m] happy to say it’s made things safer here”.

After 11 years at SHSU and 29 years of working in higher education, Yarabeck has found a home here in Huntsville and doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon.

“I really do love Sam Houston State University,” Yarabeck said. “It’s the kind of school that – had I sat down and wrote out where I would really like to be – Sam Houston would be it.”

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