Syverson to hand over admissions reins to Anselment

Tom Pilcher

(by Minh Nguyen )

Change is in the air over at Wilson House, the building across Lawe Street from Plantz that houses the Office of Admissions.

Starting July 1, current Director of Admissions Ken Anselment will take over for Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Steve Syverson.

Syverson announced his plan to retire from Lawrence in an e-mail to faculty and students last Monday, Feb. 21, and President Beck followed Syverson’s message with an e-mail Tuesday, Feb. 22 naming Anselment the new dean of admissions and financial aid. In his e-mail, Syverson reflected on the many changes to campus during his 28 years spent working at Lawrence, a figure he never quite expected to reach when he started here.

Syverson began his career working in special education, but an “out of the blue call” from the dean of admissions at Pomona College — Syverson’s alma mater — prompted him to apply for an admissions officer job there.

“I never thought about [working in admissions],” said Syverson of his first job at Pomona College. However, three years after starting at Pomona, Syverson’s name had spread throughout the admissions circuit.

Another “out of the blue call” from former President Richard Warch persuaded him to apply for a job at Lawrence, where he has worked since 1983.

As Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Syverson has played a major role in helping to build Lawrence’s reputation as a respected smaller liberal arts school.

“Everything about the quality of what goes [on at Lawrence] affects admissions and recruitment,” said Syverson. “There’s a variety of what I do in my job, and institutionally, there are a lot of places I can weigh in.”

With Syverson’s long history at Lawrence and such a broad job description, Anselment acknowledges that he “[has] some big shoes to fill.” The other members of the admissions team even gave Anselment a giant pair of shoes as a gag gift this past week.

Anselment expressed excitement about the new position. “I’m looking forward to the support folks have been extending to me and the admissions team as we go into the transition,” said Anselment.

Anselment has worked for Lawrence since 2004, and he spoke fondly of both the quality of the whole admissions team and of Lawrence in general. Prior to his job here, Anselment worked at his alma mater — Marquette University — for 12 years after graduating.

Indicative of Anselment and Syverson’s close relationship over the past seven years, Anselment joked, “Steve used some kind of Jedi mind trick to get me to apply for a job at Lawrence, and it worked.”

Anselment noted looking forward to “[enjoying] a relationship with the faculty at Lawrence that a lot of peers would envy.”

Anselment continued: “Steve has made it very easy for whoever is going to follow him in this position. He’s had 28 years of a really strong track record. Whoever was going to come into this [position] certainly wasn’t going to have an easy job, but he’s put me in a position where I can be successful because of everything he’s done up to this point.”

Though Syverson plans to retire from Lawrence this July, he plans to remain active within his profession.

Recalled Syverson, “I was vice president of our national association [for admissions officers], I was president of our state association and I’ve been on a number of national committees and things like that over the years. “

Syverson noted his plans to continue working with admissions organizations. “I am currently serving on the board of the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (AICEP),” said Syverson.

Additionally, Syverson plans to help promote the C.E.P. — the Certified Educational Planner credential — and noted, “I’ve submitted my candidacy for president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) — which doesn’t guarantee that I will be elected.”

On the leisure side, however, Syverson added that he’s “looking forward to spending more time outdoors, gardening and maybe doing some camping.”

“I’ll probably last about two months in retirement,” Syverson joked.

Added Syverson, “I’ve come to love Lawrence so much that it would be difficult to leave if I didn’t have complete enthusiasm for my successor, and in Ken I have that confidence. I fully expect he will be able to take admissions at Lawrence to ‘the next level.'”