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Skidmore College

Jessica Ricker named VP for enrollment, dean of admissions and financial aid

March 20, 2023

Jessica Ricker, an accomplished and collaborative leader with over 20 years of experience in admissions and enrollment management at liberal arts colleges, is joining Skidmore College as its next vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid. 

She will begin the role on June 5 and will lead an integrated and collaborative enrollment management approach for the College, continuing Skidmore’s consistently strong performance in admissions and financial aid support. 

“Throughout her career, Jess Ricker has repeatedly demonstrated the ability and genuine drive to apply a creative vision to all she does — an ethos that will benefit the entire Skidmore community,” said President Marc Conner. “Her commitment to amplifying student voices and supporting historically marginalized groups will help ensure Skidmore continues to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive liberal arts experience for all.”

Ricker has served as dean and director of admissions at Wellesley College since 2018 and recently served as the interim dean of admissions and financial aid. Before joining Wellesley, she worked in admissions at Connecticut College for 18 years in various capacities. She holds a Master of Arts degree in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Connecticut College.

At Wellesley, Ricker led a staff of 20 and oversaw admissions operations, including student recruitment, application review, marketing and communications, customer service, data analysis and reporting, event management, and staff development. In 2022, she was the recipient of an Agent of Innovation achievement award, given each year to an outstanding member of Wellesley’s staff who has demonstrated the use of innovative ideas, approaches, or techniques in their work. She also initiated and led a yearlong assessment of implicit bias among staff, policy, and processes across the Admission and Student Financial Services Division and devised an equitable, mission-driven application review and selection process. She has brought her enrollment expertise to various committees across the college, including Data Governance, the Faculty Senate Committee on Admission and Financial Aid, and a Strategic Planning Working Group on the Liberal Arts. 

Ricker says she looks forward to partnering broadly to recruit, enroll, and support students at Skidmore.

“Institutional mission has always been of paramount importance to me, especially the commitment to financial aid and inclusive excellence,” she said. “As a first-generation college student from the Midwest, generous need-based aid and Pell grants made it possible for me to have a transformational liberal arts college experience. It will be an honor and a privilege to contribute my passion and skills to the great work already being done at Skidmore.”

Her appointment is the result of a national search that began in October 2022. The committee was chaired by President Conner and included Becca Johnson, Joseph Stankovich, Madison Sadler ’24, and Jacqui Conrad. Kate Grimes and Jeanne Sisson in the Office of the President supported the search, and the committee was assisted by Shelley Arakawa and Patricia Coleman at the WittKieffer search firm.

Becca Johnson, professor and chair of the Psychology Department, said of Ricker, “As a self-proclaimed ‘data wonk,’ Jess brings the enthusiasm and skills necessary to leverage data for analytical decision-making. She also has a proven history of using campus resources strategically to advance diversity and inclusion goals, increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups and first-generation college students.”

Madison Sadler ’24 said, “Jess’s dedication to student success is palpable, and she is prepared to develop and implement innovative recruitment strategies that highlight the benefits of our liberal arts education while understanding and addressing the imperative for affordability.”

Ricker will succeed Mary Lou Bates, who will retire at the end of the 2022-23 academic year after 49 years with the College. Bates’ work has significantly contributed to the vibrant and thriving campus that Skidmore is today, President Conner noted, adding that her efforts have laid “an exceptionally strong foundation for our continued success as we look toward a bright future at Skidmore.”

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