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Robert J. Massa, vice president for enrollment and college relations at Dickinson College, has been named vice president for communications at Lafayette.

Massa will be the first person to serve in the newly created position. He will provide vision, leadership, and oversight for a new administrative division at Lafayette that includes public relations, communications, and marketing.
The appointment is effective August 1. Glenn Airgood, director of Lafayette’s Office of Public Information, is retiring at the conclusion of the current academic year after serving 15 years as chief public relations, communications, and marketing officer.

Lafayette President Daniel H. Weiss said, “I am very pleased that Bob Massa will join Lafayette as a member of the College’s leadership team. I believe his deep understanding of small private colleges and extensive experience in college communications, enrollment management, and other key administrative areas position him uniquely well to provide effective and inspiring leadership at Lafayette in a time when it is more important than ever to communicate the College’s distinctive strengths to all of our publics.”

A nationally recognized authority on enrollment management, Massa has served as vice president for enrollment and college relations at Dickinson since 1999. He supervises a division that includes media relations; print and electronic communications, design, and publications; admissions; financial aid; athletics; institutional research; the career center; alumni relations; and parent relations.

Under Massa’s leadership, Dickinson’s national reputation has 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). In addition, 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.

The visibility of Dickinson’s people and programs in the media also has advanced dramatically. Massa himself has frequently provided expert commentary on higher education issues in the national media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and NBC, among others.

From 2000 to 2004, Massa’s areas of responsibility also included the dean of students, residential life, student activities, the counseling center, and summer programs. He served as interim vice president for development in 2004-05, during the leadership development phase of a capital campaign.

Massa said, “In this economic environment, parents and students are increasingly concerned about value, benefits, and outcomes, and potential donors to the College have competing demands for their time and resources. As a result, this is a particularly exciting time to communicate and promote the benefits of a Lafayette education and to strengthen its position as a leader in undergraduate education. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve Lafayette and look forward to focusing my efforts toward advancing an institution to which I am committed deeply.” Massa’s son, Daniel Massa, is a 2008 graduate of Lafayette.

Prior to his vice presidency at Dickinson, Massa served as dean of enrollment at The Johns Hopkins University from 1989 to 1999, where he oversaw admissions, financial aid, the registrar, international student and scholar services, athletics, and career services. Among other accomplishments, he and his staff produced an increase in the diversity of the undergraduate student body from 12 percent to 30 percent.

Massa holds master’s and doctoral degrees in higher education from Columbia University’s Teachers College. As an undergraduate, he majored in psychology at the University of Rochester, where he also earned a master’s degree in educational psychology.

Massa began his career while studying for his master’s degree at Teachers College, serving as a student aid counselor in 1974-75. He served as assistant director of student aid and assistant dean of admissions at Colgate University from 1975 to 1980 and as associate dean of students and director of student aid at Union College from 1980 to 1987. Before moving to Johns Hopkins, he served as associate vice president for admission and financial aid at Trinity University from 1987 to 1989.

Massa has been a consultant to numerous colleges and universities and is a frequent presenter on enrollment issues to national higher education associations, including the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

He serves on the College Board’s Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century and the National Council on Enrollment Policy and Practice. In 2007-08, the American Council on Education selected him as a participant in the ACE Fellows Program.

Massa has authored and coauthored numerous book chapters, journal articles, and op-ed pieces for newspapers, including, most recently, a chapter entitled “Mission and Vision in Institutional Marketing” in Student Marketing for Colleges and Universities (2004), and chapters in Colleges Unranked: Affirming Educational Values in College Admissions (2005) and Strategic Financial Challenges for Higher Education: How to Achieve Quality, Accountability, and Innovation (2008).

Massa is a member of the advisory board of the Education Conservancy, a non-profit organization committed to improving college admission process for students, colleges and high schools, and a member of the editorial board of College & University, an educational policy and research journal published by AACRAO. He previously served on the advisory board of the Princeton Review and on the editorial boards of the Journal of College Admission, published by NACAC, and the Journal of Student Financial Aid, published by NASFAA.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Institute for Educational Advancement, Pasadena, Calif., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping talented young people identify and develop their fullest potential, and a trustee of Harrisburg (Pa.) Academy, an independent school.

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