By Olivia Montes
On Tuesday, April 19, President of Washington College Dr. Mike Sosulski announced that, after five years of commitment, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing Dr. Lorna Hunter said that she would not be returning for another recruitment cycle.
According to the April 19 email, Dr. Sosulski said that Dr. Hunter “has led the College’s efforts in admission, financial aid, and…marketing” since her arrival, and praised her abilities in bringing “a calm and professional leadership presence to a hard-working enrollment team.”
Prior to coming to WC, Dr. Hunter’s previous work experience spanned a wide range of institutions, including as dean of admissions and financial aid at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.; as the associate director of admissions and director of minority recruitment at Dartmouth University in Hanover, N.H.; as assistant director of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; and as vice president for enrollment management at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Id. and Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., respectively.
“I’ve always had a sense of community and social justice…[and] I love admission work [and] recruiting,” Dr. Hunter said. “I love helping folks get from point A to point B.”
In these roles, she helped increase the total number of applications and generate constructive enrollment plans of action to encourage potential students to consider these institutions in their respective plans for higher education, according to previous Elm coverage.
Upon coming to the College, Dr. Hunter said she wanted to continue contributing to the overall liberal arts experience.
“I really believe in small liberal arts colleges…[and] I love the history here — being able to be in a place where we’re history, where you can feel it, where you can feel it live,” Dr. Hunter said.
Throughout the next five years, Dr. Hunter continued to demonstrate guidance and resilience in her position, particularly during “one of the most turbulent times in [WC’s] recent history,” according to the April 19 email. This included “frequent turnover” within the College’s enrollment department, larger transitions in College leadership, and the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Dr. Hunter] has worked hard to secure critical external partners to aid the College in searching for the best and most qualified prospective students, [and] she could also be counted on for good counsel and student-focused perspectives as a member of the Cabinet,” Dr. Sosulski said in the email. “[Her] steady leadership of her team…has been extremely valuable, and I am grateful for the way her work has stabilized a recent decline in enrollment, setting the College up for a renewed period of growth.”
Both Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Sarah Feyerherm and Director of Admission Kelsey Miller ’10 echoed this sentiment.
“As a human being, [Dr. Hunter] deserves to get rest right from this [experience],” Dr. Feyerherm said. “She’s incredibly set in her values, and her integrity is about…unvarnished as anybody I can think of here, [and] I just have a lot of respect for her.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. Hunter for the past five years…[and] as an alumna, I appreciate that she always did what was best for the institution and made sure the students came first,” Miller said.
Similarly, Dr. Hunter said that she admires the resilience of WC students, staff, and faculty members alike through five years’ worth of changes.
“They’ve held this place together and continue to help it grow — and that’s been really exciting to be a part of,” Dr. Hunter said.
According to the April 19 email, Dr. Hunter will remain at WC in her current position until a new vice president for enrollment is hired “in order to ensure a seamless transition.” As Dr. Hunter herself is “committed to a successful conclusion to the current recruitment season, and to laying the groundwork for future enrollment success,” the leadership search for that position will take place in May.
For the remainder of the cycle, Dr. Hunter said she will continue to work alongside her team to guarantee as smooth a transition as possible, and continues to praise the strength of her fellow collaborators for the past five years.
“It’s been a great experience — it’s had its challenges and opportunities, but this has been a great team to work with,” Dr. Hunter said. “But no matter what we got hit with…they were always right there, [and] they were always ready to meet the challenge.”
Photo by Jon Kelly
Featured Photo Caption: Since coming to campus in 2017, outgoing Vice President of Enrollment Managing and Marketing Dr. Lorna Hunter sought to increase applications and other enrollment methods for Washington College.