Ashley Bianchi, director of financial aid at Rhodes College in Tennessee, has been named director of student financial aid at Lafayette College. She will assume the post July 1, succeeding Arlina DeNardo, who will take on a new leadership position at the College as senior development officer after serving as financial aid director for 16 years.
Bianchi has served as director of financial aid at Rhodes since June 2010, following four years as associate director of financial aid.
“Ashley clearly distinguished herself among an outstanding pool of candidates,” said Greg MacDonald, dean of admissions and financial aid, who announced the appointment. “Combining a strong background in student-development theory and a clear understanding of how financial aid must be managed effectively as an enrollment management tool, she has the personality and technical know-how to be a terrific partner on my management team and a wonderful leader of the financial aid office.”
Bianchi graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor of science degree in educational psychology in 2001 and earned a master of education degree in higher education and student affairs from the University of South Carolina in 2003. From 2003 to 2006, she served at the College of Charleston, first as a financial aid counselor and then as program director for scholarships.
“I am honored to be joining a fantastic leadership team at Lafayette at a very exciting time in the life of the College,” she said. “The energy and enthusiasm is apparent across campus, and I am thrilled to lead the financial aid team at a time when the conversation about costs and value in higher education is more important than ever before. Lafayette is well positioned, and I am looking forward to helping achieve new goals as the director of financial aid.”
Bianchi is currently serving as state president of the Tennessee Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a position she will vacate upon leaving the state. She also has served as the association’s state treasurer and has made presentations at its annual conferences.
“I would like to thank the members of the search advisory committee for their insights and dedication in this highly successful search: Sheryl Riddlestorffer, Carol Rowlands, Matt Hyde, Steve Schafer, Frank Benginia, Gisella Gisolo, Sid Donnell, and Rosie Bukics,” MacDonald said. “We look forward to welcoming Ashley, her husband, Ed, and their son, Ward, into the College Hill community.”
DeNardo has been a member of the Lafayette staff in 1989, when she joined the College as assistant director of financial aid.
“Arlina has provided outstanding service and leadership to Lafayette’s financial-aid program, and we are very pleased that she has accepted our invitation to join the development team,” said Jim Dicker ’85, vice president for development and College relations. “Her success in building relationships with students, parents, and donors; her familiarity with the College and its alumni; and her effectiveness in working collaboratively with other campus offices make her an ideal choice to assume a senior position on the development team as we prepare for the public phase of a capital campaign.”
DeNardo’s responsibilities will include strengthening ties to individuals with the potential to support key campaign goals, connecting important alumni affinity groups more closely to the College, and enhancing the impact of regional and international fundraising efforts, especially with respect to increasing endowment support for student grants and scholarships.
Among other leadership activities in national associations, DeNardo is serving a three-year term as a member of College Board’s Colloquium Planning Committee, which is responsible for the College Board’s annual symposium that engages college and university presidents and vice presidents across the country in discussions of issues facing higher education. She holds bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Tulane University.
In 2010 DeNardo was awarded the Gary A. Evans Administrative Prize, which is presented to an administrator or staff member who has provided a high level of service to the College, its alumni, or students over a substantial period of time.
“Under Arlina’s leadership, our financial aid office has earned an excellent reputation for serving students and families in a highly caring and professional manner,” MacDonald said. “As we continue to develop a high-quality applicant pool that is larger and more diverse than ever, it will be critical for the College to keep fundraising for both merit-based and need-based financial aid front and center. I can think of nobody better qualified than Arlina to lead that effort.”