It’s a brand new academic year at Southwestern University. On Friday, Aug. 15, the Southwestern community welcomed 388 first-year and 54 transfer students to campus, bringing total enrollment to 1,534, just shy of 2013’s record-setting enrollment. Among the 442 new students, 35 percent are from underrepresented groups.

However, the new faces on campus are not just those of students; the Office of Admission has also recently welcomed five new admission counselors and new Director of Admission Bob Baldwin. 

After spending nine years in admissions at his alma mater—Allegheny College in Pennsylvania—Baldwin thought it was time to make a change. “Interestingly, Methodist pioneer and Southwestern founder Martin Ruter was once the president of Allegheny,” he says. “So, I’ve known of and admired Southwestern for a long time. Now, I’m excited to be here and see things from a new perspective … and (so far) I’m loving this heat.”

“He’ll learn,” jokes Interim Dean of Admission and Enrollment Services Christine Bowman ’93. Although Baldwin hasn’t been at Southwestern long enough to trade his snow boots for cowboy boots, he and Bowman have known each other for years. “We’ve worked together through CTCL (Colleges That Change Lives) for several years, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that he’s here now,” says Bowman.

A member of the Admission team for more than 20 years, Bowman is excited about her new role and excited to “start fresh” with a largely new team. “Rather than merely looking to me for direction, I’m encouraging our staff to come to me with well-thought-out potential solutions to any problems or concerns they may be facing.” How is that going? “So far, so good,” she says.

Beyond developing good working relationships, Bowman says the team’s main focus going forward will be on recruiting an even more academically talented and geographically diverse student body. In the incoming class, 21 states beyond Texas are represented, as well as five different countries from around the world. “Of course, recruiting Texas students will always be a top priority,” Bowman says.

In the near future, Bowman and Baldwin, along with Scott Sandoval ’91, director of admission communication, and James Gaeta ’87, director of financial aid, plan to evaluate current Admission processes to determine what changes need to be made. “Recruiting students—the right students for Southwestern—is very different today than in years past,” says Bowman. “We need to make sure we’re doing what’s best for today’s prospective students and for Southwestern.”

Baldwin adds that because the experience offered at Southwestern is different than at many other Texas schools, the key is finding students—in state and out—for whom Southwestern is the right fit.

“Alumni, parents, friends and even current students can play an important role in the ever-more complex admissions process by being stewards of Southwestern; by referring students to us,” says Bowman. She says that she writes a note to each student whose name she is given, encouraging them to check out Southwestern.

Sharing their Southwestern Experience and encouraging students to visit campus are also ways Southwestern community members can assist in the admission process. “Once we have students on this beautiful campus, meeting our amazing faculty,” says Baldwin, “they’re hooked.” 

Bowman and her team are looking forward to collaborating, not only with external constituents like alumni and parents, but with Southwestern faculty and staff as well. “Our job,” say Baldwin, “is to advance the the liberal arts mission, which advances the value of the Southwestern Experience and, ultimately, helps create Pirates for life.”

To refer a student click here.