Lehigh Names Dan Warner New Vice Provost for Admissions and Financial Aid
Dan Warner, the director of admission for Rice University since 2010, has been named Lehigh’s new vice provost for admissions and financial aid. Warner, who was selected after an extensive nationwide search, will officially assume his new role on April 30, 2018.
“We are delighted that Dan has accepted our offer to lead Lehigh’s efforts in attracting top students from more geographically diverse parts of the country and beyond,” said Pat Farrell, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “And, as Lehigh continues on the Path to Prominence program with a goal of expanding our student base by 1,000 undergraduate students over the next few years, Dan’s role will become even more essential. He will have the tremendous opportunity to craft and shape a vision for strategic student recruitment for one of the largest classes in Lehigh’s history.”
Farrell noted that Lehigh has significantly increased the diversity of the student body over the last decade and has made a strong institutional commitment to increase the number of first-generation college students. Late in 2016, Lehigh joined 29 colleges and universities in the American Talent Initiative (ATI), supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, with a commitment to enrolling and supporting lower-income students at institutions with the highest graduation rates. The university commitment was further bolstered in 2017 by the creation of the new position of managing director for student access and success, which was filled by George White, longtime professor of educational leadership at Lehigh.
“It’s an exciting time for Lehigh, and an ideal time to bring on someone with Dan’s experience, approach and record of accomplishment to lead this effort,” Farrell said.
Warner said that he is excited to join Lehigh at such a critical point in its evolution.
“The opportunity to lead the Admissions and Financial Aid operation at a top 50 institution like Lehigh is appealing in its own right, but the aspiration and ambition laid out in President Simon’s Path to Prominence make this role particularly attractive,” said Warner.
As he met with faculty, staff and students throughout the interview process, Warner said he was “struck by the real sense of community and common purpose that exists at Lehigh. Regardless of department or role, everyone is pulling in the same direction, and is committed to making Lehigh better. That is less common in higher education than one might think, but is clearly one of the reasons that Lehigh has enjoyed the success it has to this point.”
Warner also had praise for the admissions and financial aid staff, which he described as “a talented and earnest group.” He adds that he “looks forward to working with them and their teams to identify strategies and tactics to move us forward. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have helped some good institutions become better and I look forward to building on Lehigh’s already strong foundation and to advancing Lehigh’s competitive position.”
A record of accomplishment
At Rice, Warner managed the day-to-day operations of the admissions office and led the recruitment, evaluation and selection process for the highly ranked private institution. His responsibilities included managing a 21-person staff that executed national and international prospect cultivation, minority recruitment, alumni volunteer management, a “holistic application evaluation and selection” process (including NCAA Division I athletes) and the awarding of merit scholarships.
Warner oversaw the achievement of multiple university goals, including a 47 percent increase in applications, 57 percent increase in applications from under-represented co-horts, and a 22 percent increase in the enrollment of under-represented students.
Warner’s aggressive stance toward recruiting the best and the brightest students was established long before he headed up admissions efforts at Rice. At that time, he said, “We might not enroll every student we admit, but I want to be in that final conversation every time. I want a student to agonize over the decision to decline a Rice offer of admission.”
He was credited with helping Rice adapt to a changing admissions landscape, where traditional methods of reaching promising students were no longer enough. He noted at that time that social media and the wide availability of information and opinions – coupled with more active engagement on the part of students and their parents – meant that “families are no longer content with having information just wash over them with four-color glossy college brochures in the mail.”
Prior to serving at Rice, Warner was the assistant dean of admissions for Stanford University, the associate director of admissions for the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, and the associate director of admission for Boston University, where he initially joined the staff in 1989 as assistant director of admissions.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Boston University School of Education.
Cameron Wesson, associate dean for undergraduate programs and the Lucy G. Moses Distinguished Professor of sociology and anthropology who chaired Lehigh’s search committee, said the committee was very impressed with Warner’s record of accomplishment at a series of distinguished institutions.
“His expertise, experience, personality, and record of building strong admissions and financial aid teams were consistent with the skills we identified as critical to success in this role,” he said. “We feel that Dan is the right person to lead the important work that admissions and financial aid have to play as we continue with President Simon’s Path to Prominence plan.”
In addition to Wesson, members of the search committee included:
- Shamell Brandon, Staff Psychologist, Counseling Services
- Lauren Furrer, Director, Undergraduate Recruitment Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs
- Marian Gaumer, Coordinator, Religion Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
- Gerard Lennon, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
- Jennifer Mertz, Director, Financial Aid
- Henry Odi, Deputy Vice President for Equity and Community and Associate Provost for Academic Diversity
- Augustine Ripa, Professor, Theatre, College of Arts and Sciences
- Michael Santoro, Professor, Management, College of Business and Economics
- Brook Sawyer, Assistant Professor, Education and Human Services
- Philip Sheibley, '81, '19P, University Trustee
- Christopher Wakely, Associate Director, Athletics
Patricia Mann, administrative director for the Office of the Provost provided support to the search committee.