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Dennis Kelly

Senior Vice President and Chief Enrollment Officer,
Admissions

Dennis Kelly currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Enrollment Officer at Wilmington College located in Ohio. Kelly formally served as Senior Assistant to the President and currently remains his lead Strategic Advisor on all enrollment and new initiatives. During Kelly’s first five years incoming enrollment is higher, the percentage of students living on campus in each class has increased, new programs have been established, and the management of Institutional Aid and its budget have been stabilized. This year Kelly has collaborated with faculty to create a ‘one of its kind’ Transfer Advantage Program which accepts and satisfies all general education requirements for students graduating from regionally accredited Associate of Arts and Science degree programs nationwide. In Ohio, all students completing the Ohio Transfer Module are also eligible without actually earning their degree first. Locally, He led an effort to expand an already popular High school program to all high school graduates living in Clinton County. The fall 2018 class, 450 students, is the largest in the history of Wilmington College in regards to total entering class, first-time freshman, and students from Clinton County. This breaks the previous enrollment record of 437 students in 2014, which at the time eclipsed the previous historical entering total in 1946. During January 2014, Kelly facilitated a campus-wide research project that led to the trustees voted to reduce tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year. This strategy immediately increased retention, enhanced the colleges’ price and quality perception of students and their families in regards to value, while, complementing the college Branding Campaign, new majors, and two newly constructed state of the art College of Sports Sciences and College of Science and Agriculture. In the summer of 2016, Wilmington College’s Dennis Kelly was among 39 university administrators and industry leaders that participated in a forum designed to re-imagine higher education’s potential to lead global social impact. Executive track sessions for the 8th annual Millennium Campus Conference earlier that summer were hosted by The White House, Department of State and Howard University in Washington D.C. He co-facilitated a Branch Business Plan in January 2015 with the Vice President for External Programs that resulted in reversing a seven-year decline while expanding off-campus sites to four in the surrounding Cincinnati area.

Previous to Wilmington College, Kelly served as the Vice President for Enrollment Management at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA. At Cabrini, Kelly was charged to successfully implement a landmark tuition reduction strategy that resulted in first-year and overall undergraduate enrollment increases after three consecutive years of decline. Kelly also planned and implemented the college’s first multi-year retention plan that reversed a four-year decline in retention. He remains an associate consultant in good standing with the nationally recognized Registry for College Presidents.

Before joining Cabrini in 2010, Kelly served as the Vice President for Enrollment at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. from 2007-2010, and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Marywood University in Scranton, PA from 2004-2007. Kelly’s 30-year career also includes enrollment and academic positions at Centenary College, Berkeley College, and Upsala College.

In 2006, Kelly’s enrollment team at Marywood was honored by the higher education consulting firm of Noel-Levitz for marketing recruitment excellence, and in 2010 the team he led at Georgian Court received the Noel-Levitz’s award for excellence in student retention. Kelly is the only higher education executive to have won both prestigious national awards. Currently, 14 former direct reports hold top senior enrollment positions of vice president, dean, chief enrollment officer, or executive director at other institutions.

Kelly has been recognized by the White House and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the development and promotion of educational opportunities for families of American troops serving in Iraq. Kelly organized outreach to Phi Theta Kappa students during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort to encourage fellow colleges to match Marywood’s full tuition and campus housing aid for PTK students who were displaced from Gulf Coast colleges caused by the disaster. Early in his career, Kelly was featured by Alpha Kappa Psi as a “Builder of Business Colleges & Brotherhood” while at Centenary College and served as the Alpha Kappa Psi advisor to Epsilon Psi at Upsala. Kelly also spent six years on the New Jersey School Board of Education as both Vice President and a board member. Kelly is a Vietnam era veteran. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree, both from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Kelly presents nationally and regionally on various SEM topics and has assisted other college and universities as an independent consultant with their respective strategic enrollment decisions.