Eric Maguire has been named Wake Forest’s first Vice President for Enrollment, President Hatch announced in a statement on Monday.
Maguire currently serves as the vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., and has served in that role since 2015. The position at Wake Forest will take effect July 1 of this year.
“[He is] is known for his success in recruiting highly talented undergraduates, prioritizing academic excellence and increasing socioeconomic, racial and ethnic diversity,” read the statement.
The vice president for enrollment position will encompass the dean of admissions position, overseeing both the offices of admissions and financial aid.
“Hatch created the new … position to enhance the university’s ability to attract the best students by strategically aligning undergraduate admissions and financial aid functions,” the statement read. “In this role, Maguire will have broad responsibility for recruiting, admitting and enrolling undergraduate students.”
As it was announced that Dean of Admissions Martha Allman would be transitioning into a new role in the Office of the Provost, a search committee for her replacement formed last fall. This committee launched the search for the vice president of enrollment and recommended Maguire for the role, said Cheryl Walker, director of Wake Forest News and Communications. The 12-member committee, co-chaired by Hatch and Provost Rogan Kersh, included Erica Still, associate dean for faculty recruitment and English professor; Jose Villalba, vice president for diversity and inclusion; and Penny Rue, vice president for campus life.
Maguire said that he believes his previous experience as a vice president responsible for admissions and financial aid will be useful in helping set the precedent for the position and what it represents here at Wake Forest.
“By serving as a [vice president], the topic of enrollment will have a greater voice among the president’s cabinet, which could yield new insights and opportunities to further shape our student profile,” Maguire said in an email to the Old Gold & Black. “And while I suspect the offices of admission and financial aid work in a coordinated fashion, the unification of these offices under one division should enhance those intersections.”
Maguire went on to note that when prospective students and families are looking for the “right fit” in the college search, the school doesn’t need to only be the right fit academically, extracurricularly and geographically, but also needs to be the right fit financially. Further aligning these offices will help to communicate the financial fit and help the university gain the necessary resources for a need-blind admission process, he said.
“[Maguire] takes an innovative, student-centric and data-driven approach to admissions, which we are confident will build upon our success in attracting outstanding students to Wake Forest,” said Hatch in the statement. “We fully expect he will bring an even greater diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, talents and experiences to our campus community.”
The statement further speaks to Maguire’s past successes at both Franklin & Marshall and Ithaca College, where he served as the vice president of the office of enrollment and communication from 2009 to 2015. Prior to 2009, he had been at Franklin & Marshall in a variety of roles. According to the statement, under Maguire’s leadership, Franklin & Marshall achieved new goals for Pell and first-generation enrollment in addition to records for average SAT, international diversity and student of color representation. Under his leadership at Ithaca, the college increased the number of applications by more than 40 percent and the representation of first-year students from underrepresented applicant groups.
This announcement and new position comes at a time when Wake Forest has been grappling with serious social issues, some particularly related to admissions. This includes calls for increased diversity, calls for the university to reckon with institutional racism and specific incidents of racism on campus and the alleged involvement of the volleyball coach in a national admissions scandal. Maguire said that these are notable and distinct challenges, but he feels that these are indicative that Wake Forest is ready for change.
“The incidents of racial insensitivity and racism speak to the need for growth and greater understanding,” he said. “I have seen such growth as I worked to enhance diversity and support underrepresented students at both Ithaca and Franklin & Marshall Colleges. Neither campus is perfect in its maturation, but both have made important strides toward greater inclusivity and richness of perspective. It appears that Wake Forest is poised for such change, and I hope to contribute in meaningful ways to that effort.”
He also said that once he arrives on campus, he will work with the incoming athletic director John Currie to continue the internal review regarding the admission scandal.
“For all of Wake Forest’s notable success, I see an institution teeming with opportunity,” Maguire said to the Old Gold & Black. “It is that opportunity, combined with some incredible colleagues, that I am most looking forward to.”