Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) seek an innovative, highly skilled, and strategic leader to serve as its next vice president of admissions and financial aid. The anticipated start date is early summer 2023.


The Position


Reporting directly to President Mark D. Gearan, the vice president of admissions and financial aid is the chief enrollment officer for the institution, serving on the President’s senior staff and playing a critical role in shaping the Colleges’ future. The vice president will oversee the admissions and financial aid offices and is expected to actively interact and collaborate with all administrative areas and the faculty. The vice president will lead the creation, articulation and implementation of a new-era enrollment management strategy that is data-informed and that produces optimal coordination and analytical rigor in each phase of the enrollment process.

An innovative enrollment leader, the new vice president will grasp and leverage HWS’ distinctions to enhance the Colleges’ ability to attract, recruit, enroll, and retain a talented and diverse population of students. While developing a forward-thinking portfolio of functions, the vice president will be a visible leader who will build on past successes while forging an ambitious future as HWS strives to increase its enrollment. The new vice president will be expected to:

  • Develop a comprehensive and integrated enrollment communication, recruitment, and yield management plan based on the recruitment and retention objectives of the Colleges, including goals, defined targets and related action items.
  • Report consistently, thoughtfully, and transparently the key metrics related to the annual enrollment funnel and strategic enrollment initiatives.
  • Initiate, maintain, and refine data collection and analysis processes that will advance the Colleges’ enrollment goals and assist in evaluating recruitment and admission procedures, leveraging financial aid, and maximizing net tuition revenue.
  • Serve on the Committee on Academic Affairs and the faculty’s Committee on Admissions and Retention.
  • Collaborate with communications and marketing colleagues on data and trend analysis to develop short- and long-term enrollment marketing plans to admit and enroll students who will succeed and thrive at HWS.
  • Systematize collaboration with the academic units, athletics, and other campus offices to strengthen student recruitment, admission, and enrollment.
  • Oversee all hiring, training, supervision, professional development, and staff evaluation to ensure a climate of collaboration and creativity.
  • Strategically integrate the admissions and financial aid functions to provide students and their families the financial awareness and education necessary to finance their educational pursuits successfully.
  • Provide leadership on policies, procedures, and regulations relevant to enrollment management best practices.


A bachelor’s degree (advanced degree preferred), successful, and progressive professional and leadership experiences suitable for appointment at the vice president level, and a significant record of success in admissions and financial aid operations and staff management will be expected of the vice president.

The search advisory committee particularly invites applications from candidates with demonstrated experience with current best practices in enrollment management/admission processes; a record of visionary, collaborative, proactive, ethical, and dynamic leadership resulting in meeting or exceeding enrollment targets; a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and an affinity for the distinctive mission and character of HWS.

Campus stakeholders also indicated that the next vice president of admissions and financial aid will ideally be:

  • Confident while possessing a high level of emotional intelligence
  • Energized by the opportunity of leading an enrollment transformation
  • A champion of data-informed planning and decision-making
  • Able to inspire and motivate a multi-layered team
  • Personable, warm, and a connector of people and opportunities
  • Creative and comfortable taking informed risks for high reward


John Young joined the colleges in 2005 and previously served as director of admissions and dean of admissions; he was named vice president for admissions and financial aid in 2018. Kathy Killius Regan, a long-serving leader at HWS with 38 years of experience at the colleges—including 15 years on the admissions team—is serving as the interim vice president while this national search is being conducted.


The vice president of admissions and financial aid must possess a broad and deep understanding of the current and emerging trends in recruitment, admission, financial aid awarding, retention, access, and affordability. It is important that the vice president be an experienced leader with the capacity to manage complex situations, committed to service at the highest level, and equipped to contribute at both a strategic and operational level at one of the most distinguished liberal arts colleges in the nation.

Within this context, there are several aspects of the role of the vice president in which the successful candidate will need to be prepared to lead after a period of acclimatization and relationship building. These include:

    1. Collaboration with the President’s senior staff: The new vice president is joining a strong and collegial cabinet, each of whom is a respected and experienced executive in their own right. The President and all colleagues on the senior staff are looking for a thought partner to engage with them in growing enrollment at HWS by partnering on an integrated enrollment communications and marketing plan, crafting and implementing a cogent and strategic financial aid strategy, developing realistic medium- and long-term strategic enrollment plans with accompanying financial models, engaging alumni, and enrolling students who will, in turn, become proud alumni.
    2. Collaboration with faculty and staff: The vice president will find an institutional culture where faculty and staff colleagues are productively involved with admissions initiatives at events and in outreach to prospective students and their families. Therefore, there are high expectations that the new vice president will exemplify a culture of collaboration and partnership, with the ability to communicate clearly and transparently across campus for maximum effectiveness. It will be crucial that the new vice president quickly reach out to all campus constituencies to build solid and mutually beneficial relationships that engender confidence and consistently support the President and his leadership agenda. These connections are essential to accurately assessing the real needs of constituents, providing exceptional information and services, and ensuring that the admissions and financial aid office is recognized as a creative, high-functioning unit and a trusted partner.
    3. Enrollment Planning and Growth: Prior to 2019, the Colleges had been on an impressive enrollment growth trajectory, reaching a record enrollment of 2,200 in Fall 2018. However, similar to many of its peers in the Northeast, HWS has experienced a decline in new student enrollments between 2019 and 2021, followed by a promising small increase in new student enrollment in Fall 2022. The new vice president will be expected to build momentum in new student enrollment in the short term, and develop and implement mid- and long-range strategic enrollment plans with a keen eye on managing the tuition discount rate and growing net tuition revenue.
    4. Operational Excellence: A recent external review of admissions and financial aid operations identified weaknesses and gaps, particularly in operations functions and yield management activities. Communication and highly specialized engagement with prospective and admitted students must continue to be closely coordinated with the communications and marketing department to ensure that messaging is consistent and scheduled appropriately. A thorough review of the functionality and optimization of the Slate CRM may also assist in this collaborative effort.
    5. Office Leadership: The vice president will be expected to form a cohesive office leadership team with a shared understanding of strategic enrollment management and their individual contributions, as well as responsibilities and accountabilities for each functional area within the division. A high priority will be filling the vacancies for the director of admissions and director of admissions operations. At the same time, the vice president will find an existing team that is ready to support their leadership and responsive to professional development and coaching.


The vice president will work with President Gearan to determine specific measures of success and related timetables. The President and stakeholders offer the following general metrics for the position.

  • The vice president of admissions and financial aid will have partnered meaningfully with their colleagues on the President’s senior staff, faculty colleagues on the Admissions and Retention Committee, and trustees on the Enrollment Management Committee of the Board of Trustees to spearhead a collaborative effort to formulate a strategic enrollment plan that will serve as the Colleges’ roadmap for sustained growth and revenue enhancement. This plan will be supported by accompanying alumni engagement, financial, and integrated enrollment marketing and communication plans. The vice president will be expected to demonstrate transparency and accountability; exemplify a collaborative style with all key partners; and provide vision, leadership, and accountability in this process.
  • Organizational strengths and weaknesses will have been reviewed and the vice president will have outlined the strategic direction and long-term plan for the admissions and financial aid office consistent with the Colleges’ mission and goals.
  • The vice president will have assessed the staff’s skills and knowledge, developed a strong sense of teamwork among staff, and systematized relationships with academic affairs, marketing and communications, institutional advancement, faculty, staff, students, and external constituencies that emphasize an engaging and collaborative work environment.
  • The vice president will have maintained a proactive, highly visible, well-respected, and established leadership presence on and off campus that is credible, collegial, and highly effective.
  • The admissions and financial aid office will be defined as a strong, highly functioning, well-regarded, and resilient team that works with synergy and shared purpose, readily collaborating across departmental and division lines with a demonstrated commitment to enrolling students who will thrive at HWS, graduate, and become engaged alumni.
  • The vice president will have built effective partnerships and consensus across the Colleges to develop a business intelligence and data analysis framework that will inform the Colleges’ strategic enrollment activities.
  • A well-considered and comprehensive set of recommendations will have been formulated to enable HWS to respond proactively to the challenges posed by the decline in college enrollments and shifting dynamics in the enrollment landscape such as the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the consideration of race in college admissions.

Institution & Location


The vice president will lead the admissions and financial aid functions for the following student populations at HWS:

2022 Viewbook

Admissions CRM: Slate

Financial Aid System: PowerFAIDS

Admission Programs: Early Decision (2 rounds), Early Action, and Regular Decision

Admission Application Systems: Common Application and Coalition Application

Operating Budget: $2.15 million

The vice president directly supervises the director of financial aid, director of admissions, director of admissions operations, AVP/director of campus visit programs, and an administrative assistant.



Hobart and William Smith are a selective, residential, future-focused liberal arts and sciences institution defined by a longstanding emphasis on educating across academic disciplines and the close work of research and creativity that connects faculty and students. The Colleges prepare students to lead lives of consequence and do so by providing a relationship-rich education, one in which students learn with and from a stellar faculty of accessible teachers/scholars. Known for the impact of their research and distinguished by the depth of their mentorship, HWS faculty are regularly lauded. Indeed, for the sixth year in a row, the 2023 edition of Princeton Review’s Best 387 Colleges ranks HWS among the top in the nation for “Great Professors,” paying tribute to its faculty with a “truly stellar record of student satisfaction.” That same publication counts HWS as among the top 25 institutions with students and administrators who care about the environment.

HWS enroll approximately 1,660 students from 41 states and 41 countries who complement their liberal arts and sciences studies with real-world experiential learning opportunities through 13 centers for research, action and thought. One hundred percent of students participate in community engagement activities and the Colleges are ranked by Washington Monthly as fourth in the nation for service. With a deep commitment to fostering global perspectives, more than 60 percent of students study abroad. The Colleges are innovators in career and graduate school preparation with a robust guaranteed internship program that results in nearly 600 students participating in an internship or research opportunity each year.

Hobart and William Smith sponsor 29 varsity sports that have combined to win 23 national championships and more than 100 conference championships, while the Statesmen and Herons have earned hundreds of All-America awards and countless regional and conference honors. The HWS Debate Team is equally impressive and has been an international contender for more than a decade, most recently receiving the best results of any U.S. liberal arts college at the World Universities Debating Championship.

Originally founded as two institutions–Hobart for men and William Smith for women–today’s Colleges enjoy the exponential benefits of shared resources and combined spirit, providing a unique and invaluable opportunity for exploring questions of gender and difference. Now entering its third century, HWS graduated the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S.; were the first in the nation to have an LGBTQ undergraduate program; and among the first to offer majors and minors in Africana studies, women’s studies and men’s studies.

Mission and overview

Vision and future

Strategic Planning





Mark D. Gearan – President

In July 2022, Mark D. Gearan L.H.D. ’17, P’21 was named the 30th president of Hobart and the 19th of William Smith. Gearan previously was president of HWS from 1999-2017, during which time the Colleges’ endowment doubled as he oversaw a capital campaign that raised $205 million to support facilities and annual giving, established 168 new scholarships, and completed 80 significant capital projects. During his first presidency, Gearan made substantial commitments to diversity and inclusion; propelled the Colleges’ environmental efforts; and grew programming in career services, civic engagement, leadership, student services, and study abroad. After leaving Hobart and William Smith in 2017, Gearan served as President in Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and in 2018 was appointed director of the institute of politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Gearan returned to HWS as the Colleges celebrated its Bicentennial, and it is Gearan’s intention to lead HWS into its third century on a solid financial foundation while remaining committed to its mission to prepare students to lead lives of consequence. Central to Gearan’s plan is the stabilization of admissions and financial aid by increasing enrollment incrementally over the next five years, investing in the student experience, empowering curricular innovations, and launching a capital campaign.

The President’s senior staff


Fall 2022 Enrollment
1,559 students
39 states
45 countries

U.S. students of color: 24.1 percent

International students: 8.3 percent

Women: 49.9 percent

Men: 48.4 percent

Nonbinary:  1.7 percent

The Faculty
179 full-time faculty
Student-faculty ratio: 9:1


Hobart and William Smith Colleges strive to create a just and inclusive environment where all students, faculty, and staff are valued and respected. HWS believes that diversity in identity and perspective enriches the community and prepares all to lead lives of consequence. The Colleges recognize that historical practices and policies have privileged certain groups while excluding others from institutions of higher education, and thus the work of diversity at HWS seeks to account for those inequities by promoting college access and working to ensure that every member of the HWS community has an equal opportunity to thrive.

Learn more about the Colleges’ diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities here.

Benefits Overview


Hobart and William Smith Colleges provide a benefits program that enriches an employee’s total compensation package and is responsive both to the diversity of its employees and to the many life changes individuals experience during their employment. To learn more about the benefits offered at HWS, see here.

For information on the approved salary range for the position, please contact Michel R. Frendian.

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination

Hobart and William Smith Colleges have retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position and questions about the status of the search may be emailed to Michel R. Frendian, Senior Consultant, at mrf@spelmanjohnson.com.  Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

COVID Vaccination Requirement

Employment, or continuation thereof, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is contingent upon being fully COVID-19 vaccinated (unless a medical/religious exemption is received); proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is required before the start of employment.

Visit the Hobart and Williams Smith website at www.hws.edu.  

 Hobart and William Smith Colleges are committed to providing a non-discriminatory and harassment-free educational, living, and working environment for all members of the HWS community, including students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors. HWS prohibits discrimination and harassment in their programs and activities on the basis of age, color, disability, domestic violence victim status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other status protected under the law. Discrimination on the basis of sex includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, other forms of sexual misconduct including stalking and intimate partner violence, and gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.


Geneva, New York