June 29, 2009

Robert J. Massa, New Vice President for Communications, is Featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Article highlights his leadership of dramatic advancements at Dickinson College as vice president for enrollment and college relations

Robert J. Massa, Lafayette’s new vice president for communications, is featured in an extensive article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today on his leadership of dramatic advancements at Dickinson College as vice president for enrollment and college relations there for the last decade.

Massa will be the first person to serve in the newly created position of vice president for communications at Lafayette, leading a new administrative division that includes public relations, communications, and marketing. Appointed in April, he starts Aug.1.

A nationally recognized authority on enrollment management, he has served as vice president at Dickinson since 1999, overseeing media relations; print and electronic communications, design, and publications; admissions; financial aid; athletics; institutional research; the career center; alumni relations; and parent relations. He leaves Dickinson June 30.

“After more than three decades, he is leaving [enrollment management,] the profession he helped define,” writes Eric Hoover in the Chronicle. Under Massa’s leadership, Dickinson’s national reputation increased significantly. His development and implementation of a coordinated plan to influence brand identification and communicate the college’s identity to prospective students, alumni, and the public helped drive major advances in applications for admission (an increase of 82 percent) and in the academic quality of the first-year class (an improvement of 100 points in the mean SAT score). The proportion of minority students at Dickinson rose to 15 percent from five percent, while the ratio of international students increased to six percent from one percent.

Dickinson’s visibility in the media also advanced dramatically. Massa himself has frequently provided expert commentary on higher education issues in the national media. “[H]e has been one of the most outspoken national figures in admissions,” the Chronicle says.

Prior to his vice presidency at Dickinson, he served 10 years as dean of enrollment at Johns Hopkins. He brings 35 years of experience in higher education to Lafayette.

“Later this summer, he will become vice president for communications at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pa., where his son, Daniel, recently earned a bachelor’s degree,” Hoover writes. “Mr. Massa, who says his son had a ‘transformative experience’ at Lafayette, feels a strong connection to the college.”

Glenn Airgood, director of Lafayette’s Office of Public Information, is retiring as of June 30 after serving 15 years as chief public relations, communications, and marketing officer.

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