The Search Has Ended: Meet Our New VP of Admissions and Financial Aid
By Chuck Dodge
This August, the Washington and Lee community welcomes Sally Stone Richmond as its new Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid. A Davidson College undergraduate and Harvard graduate alumnus, Richmond currently serves as the Dean of Admissions at liberal arts institution Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. She will replace the nationally esteemed Dean Hartog, who headed selection for the past thirty-six classes of W&L lineage, oversaw its transition from all-male to co-ed, and established admissions incentives including the Johnson Scholarship Program.
Richmond is a firm believer in liberal arts education and describes that she feels "humbled by the opportunity to return to [her] home state to join the Washington and Lee family,” writes Brian Eckert (W&L’s Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs.) He goes on to explain that at Occidental she effectively rethought and remodeled the admissions process, introducing, for example, its first student recruitment management system as well as a team approach to important admissions measures. Further, “As a member of the senior admission and financial aid leadership team,” Eckert reports, “she worked in close consultation with the division's vice president and other senior staff to produce the most diverse classes in the college's recent history.”
As in admissions, we value an understanding of any person or organization that transcends the background facts, positions and accomplishments listed on a resume. In this light we sought to learn more about our future admissions leader by asking a few questions about herself as well as her thoughts on W&L and her new role here.
Citing the busy obligations of her current work, Dean Richmond declined the opportunity to answer these questions for this Spectator issue. She further identified many of the questions as “conjecture” at this point in time, and noted that she “would not dare hypothesize” before arriving in Lexington, immersing herself in her upcoming position and working to earn the trust of her new W&L colleagues and community. The questions are listed below.
- What qualities of the student body at Washington and Lee do you most admire? Are there any areas where you hope to add depth?
- How do you see yourself drawing upon your experiences at Occidental College and Davidson College in your new position at Washington and Lee?
- Do you have any specific goals with regard to shaping the demographic of future classes at Washington and Lee?
- Is it true that you were a part of the Gore-Lieberman campaign? If so, would you mind describing the nature of your work there? What inspired you to take this position or to be involved with this campaign?
- What qualities do you believe define a good class of students?
- Do you have any advice for prospective students?
- What about your new position / new school appeals the most to you?
- What do you consider to be the most important qualities of our university, today and in history?
While Dean Richmond declined to address these topics, she affirmed her enthusiasm for her approaching role, noting: “One of the many reasons I am excited about this opportunity is that, as a student of higher education, I am eager to carry the university's history forward in ways most appropriate and meaningful for its stakeholders.” It is The Spectator's hope that once she does arrive, she will consider answering our questions and expand more on her particular views regarding admissions, the University, and the way to perform her role in the most "appropriate and meaningful" way.
Image taken from Washington and Lee website