SMU appoints Elena D. Hicks new dean of undergraduate admission
January 25, 2017



DALLAS (SMU) – After an extensive national search, SMU announces the appointment of Elena D. Hicks as the new dean of undergraduate admission. Hicks, who brings over 20 years of post-secondary admission experience, will begin her new role on Feb. 1.

“We are pleased to welcome Dean Hicks to the SMU admission team, and back to her home state of Texas,” said Wes Waggoner, associate vice president for Enrollment Management in the Office of the Provost. “Her experience and knowledge in admission is extensive, and she understands the profession in a way that will complement our current staff and guide SMU through the enrollment opportunities and complexities before us. She is firmly committed to increasing the academic stature of SMU and ensuring that SMU’s student body is talented, diverse and eager to engage with our faculty in the classroom.”

In her new role at SMU, Hicks will oversee all activities in the SMU Office of Admission, including admission for first-year, transfer and international applicants. She also will work closely with SMU Public Affairs to develop the University’s marketing messages, and with faculty, staff and alumni to recruit high achieving undergraduate students from across the United States and around the world as SMU continues to rise in national prominence.

“I have a passion for education and strongly believe in SMU’s commitment to shape world changers, thus I am extremely honored to be selected as the University’s new dean of undergraduate admission,” said Hicks. “I feel confident that my myriad of experiences will help move the office of admission’s goals and strategies forward, while establishing collaborative partnerships and strengthening relationships with the overall community.”

With 27 years of education experience, Hicks has considerable knowledge about student recruitment, selective admission and family involvement. Most recently, as dean of admission at Loyola University Maryland, she successfully developed and implemented recruitment strategies that resulted in a significant increase in first-year applications and an increase in the enrollment size of the entering class during her nine-year tenure.

While at Loyola, she also served as president of the National Catholic College Admission Association, a group of 145 colleges and universities committed to serving students, parents and counselors. Additionally, Hicks co-chaired a sub-committee of Loyola’s retention committee, served as a committee member of a working group during Loyola’s recent strategic planning process and was a mentor for the university’s living-learning community.

Prior to her role at Loyola, Hicks spent seven years as the director of admission for Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, and 11 years at Texas Christian University in roles of increasing responsibility that ultimately led her to be named assistant dean of admission and director of information systems.

A Texas native, Hicks’ ties to SMU are deeply rooted. Her great grandfather Robert L. Peace (a Dallas native), began working at SMU as it opened its doors, and he proudly served the institution for 37 years. Other family members, inspired by Robert’s passion for the University, worked at SMU in various capacities over the years.

“It is very gratifying and humbling to connect to my family in such a special way,” said Hicks. “To realize their hopes and dreams, while simultaneously helping students fulfill their academic dreams and aspirations is truly rewarding.”

Hicks earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and French and a master’s degree in liberal arts from Texas Christian University. She has been an active member of the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling, National Association for College Admission Counseling, Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, and the American Marketing Association.




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