St. Lawrence University

Vice President, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid



“The mission of St. Lawrence University is to provide an inspiring and demanding undergraduate education in the liberal arts to students selected for their seriousness of purpose and intellectual promise.”


St. Lawrence University, a coeducational, private, independent liberal arts institution of about 2,400 students seeks candidates for Vice President, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. Reporting to President William L. Fox ‘75 and serving as a member of his Senior Staff, this person is responsible for bold leadership and collegial supervision of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid overseeing a staff of around 25 employees (part-time and full-time). The successful candidate will be an experienced enrollment management professional with a broad understanding of selective admissions as well as competitive recruitment practices, an awareness of national norms and trends, and a strong desire for inclusion in an engaged collegiate community that extends to a dedicated network of alumni.

The overall strength of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid division at St. Lawrence is an ethos of hard work and excellent service. The staff prides itself on treating each person as an individual. Embracing the highest ethical standards, the staff understands that it serves both St. Lawrence and individual students at the center of every decision. Over the years, the staff has continuously improved recruitment strategies and processing techniques. Admitted student surveys consistently rate the admissions and financial aid processes at St. Lawrence as intensely personal, sensitive, fair and authentic. Word-of-mouth testimonials among alumni, current students, current parents and college guidance professionals undergird the extraordinary growth in interest and appreciation of the St. Lawrence experience.

THE UNIVERSITY: St. Lawrence University is a selective, national liberal arts college with strong market demand; for the Class entering in Fall 2017, St. Lawrence enrolled 700 first-year students, the largest class in St. Lawrence history.   With over 2,400 full-time undergraduate students, some 99% of the students residing on campus, St. Lawrence has a commitment to its residential identity.  St. Lawrence is the oldest continuing co-educational college in New York and the first to award baccalaureate degrees to women. Today 45% of the students are male, 55% are female. Students hail from 43 states and 51 countries.

St. Lawrence’s market position statement reads: St. Lawrence University is a vibrant, collaborative community of learners who value thought and action. Students tap their full potential as they embrace the natural environment, engage with global challenges, and experience the relevance and adventure of a liberal arts education in a complex and changing world. The educational opportunities at St. Lawrence inspire students and prepare them to be critical and creative thinkers, to find a compass for their lives and careers, and to pursue knowledge and understanding for the benefit of themselves, humanity and the planet. Through its focus on active engagement with ideas in and beyond the classroom, a St. Lawrence education leads students to make connections that transform lives and communities, from the local to the global.

Students choose a major from among 36 different academic areas, or may design their own major, with another 39 options available for minors.  St. Lawrence offers a First-Year Program that is one of the oldest living-learning programs in the country, helping students make successful transitions from high school to college, intellectually and socially, since 1987. Students live together and study in a team-taught FYP, developing the writing, speaking, and research skills needed for college. They continue to develop these skills in a spring First-Year Seminar.  Recently, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded St. Lawrence a four-year grant totaling $800,000 to support the Sophomore Journeys program.

St. Lawrence fields 32 varsity sports teams with most competing at NCAA Division III level; men’s and women’s ice hockey compete at the Division I level.  In addition, there are more than 25 club and intramural teams at St. Lawrence.

The international study program was inaugurated in 1964; today 63% of the St. Lawrence students experience an off-campus study as early as their first year as a Laurentian.  The Center for International and Intercultural Studies promotes intercultural learning within the United States and beyond its borders, preparing students for responsible membership in the global community.

To learn more: visit A few examples of St. Lawrence University’s academics, campus culture, and outcomes highlighted by college rankings can be viewed here:

LOCATION: St. Lawrence University is located in the Village of Canton in northern New York, between the Adirondack Mountains and the St. Lawrence River. An active community, the area boasts extraordinary natural resources and opportunities for four-season outdoor recreation. The Village of Canton is a welcoming community with residents who care about students and want to see them succeed. From festivals to shopping to eateries, downtown offers myriad ways for students to connect with its neighbors. Many students shop, work, and volunteer nearby. Canton is home to North Country Public Radio (NCPR), St. Lawrence University’s award-winning National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate (WSLU 89.5 FM). In a 2015 survey of the community, St. Lawrence County was rated “Excellent” or “Good” on five key Quality of Life Indicators, including quality of environment, public outdoor recreational activities, and crime control.

St. Lawrence University’s 1000-acre campus features 94 buildings, including 16 residence halls, several theme houses and other communities. The storied history of St. Lawrence is evidenced with a brisk walk around campus and features a mix of buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places, those with Gold LEED certification, the bustling Sullivan Student Center, and Payson Hall, home to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

The campus is situated an hour from Ottawa, Ontario; two hours from the cosmopolitan city of Montreal; and less than three hours from Syracuse, New York, and Burlington, Vermont. Four universities (SUNY-Canton, St. Lawrence University, SUNY-Potsdam, and Clarkson University) are located within the nine-mile radius of the Canton-Potsdam area. Known as Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley, the four institutions collaborate on numerous initiatives as a consortium.


QUALIFICATIONS:   Candidates for this position should have at least ten years of experience in admissions and/or financial aid and a proven record of entrepreneurial skills applied to the recruitment and enrollment of students who are well suited to the liberal arts mission of the institution. An advanced degree is preferred. In addition, candidates must possess a strong appreciation for private, liberal arts education and should demonstrate the following characteristics, skills, abilities and understanding.

  • Strategic mindset with the ability to execute and implement new and creative ideas to enhance the quality of the student body while increasing selectivity and diversity in admission;
  • Capacity to develop and refine the University’s competitive aid packages to achieve net revenue and enrollment goals;
  • An ability to maintain an integrated approach that makes effective use of analytics and data to inform decisions within a “high touch” recruitment model, and an ability to use current technology in an effective manner;
  • Highest standards of integrity, creativity, intellectual curiosity, and professional ethics;
  • Mature management of people who can mentor while exhibiting a collegial, team-building style;
  • Commitment to proactively seeking staff who represent a variety of backgrounds and diverse perspectives;
  • Ability to provide a written recruitment and operational plan that integrates strategies, tactics, personnel assignments, and an on-going record of measurable objectives;
  • Eagerness to collaborate with faculty, staff, coaches, and alumni to understand and define the characteristics desired in accepted applicants and create effective volunteer programs to support and extend admissions efforts;
  • Willingness to develop and nurture collegial relationships across campus and embrace a relatively flat administrative culture;
  • Accountability, visibility, and willingness to communicate and inform stakeholders on a regular basis;
  • Possession of strong oral and written communication skills for communicating with prospective students, their families, campus colleagues, trustees and alumni;
  • High level knowledge of market demographics, demands, and trends to inform program development and apply that knowledge to possibilities at St. Lawrence;
  • Undeniable interest in full partnership with the Office of University Communications on messaging and adherence to the St. Lawrence brand;
  • Appreciation for an impassioned and connected alumni body, welcoming volunteer involvement;
  • Dedicated commitment to partner with other members of the Senior Staff and the President in leading the university in a collaborative manner;
  • Willingness to enhance the historic relationships with strong feeder schools, community based organizations, and college counselor networks, while at the same time cultivating new relationships and bringing his/her own relationships to St. Lawrence;
  • Proven use of research and technology in admissions and financial aid;
  • Ability to plan strategically and analyze effectively with budgeting and financial acumen;
  • Knowledge of federal, state and NCAA Division I and Division III regulations.


TO APPLY: Napier Executive Search is assisting St. Lawrence University with this search for a Vice President, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. For a confidential conversation, or if you wish to nominate someone for this position, please contact Mary Napier ( or Laura Robinson ( ) If you wish to apply, please send a résumé, a detailed letter of interest and contact information for three professional references by email to: .  Résumés will be reviewed as they are received.  There is an expected start date of Fall 2017. All applications and nominations will be considered confidential and notice will be given before references are contacted.


All offers of employment are contingent upon the finalist successfully passing a background (including criminal records) check.

The University is committed to and seeks diversity among its faculty, staff and students. Such a commitment ensures an atmosphere that is diverse and complex in ways that are intellectually and socially enriching for the entire campus community. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups, as well as from individuals with experience teaching or working in a multicultural environment, are encouraged. St. Lawrence University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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