After 10 years of recruiting and working with prospective students, Office of Admissions Director Joe Havis has resigned. Havis announced his resignation before Thanksgiving break and his last day was Nov. 29.
A Millikin alum himself, Havis started working in the Office of Admissions the summer after graduation in 2004. Throughout his time, he has made it his personal mission to raise enrollment numbers and make Millikin the best choice of college for students to attend.
“Both my wife and my family are from the St. Louis area and we have long term plans to get back down there,” he said. “She made some business decisions which allow us to plan to go back and if we’re going to move in July, then I need to prepare myself for a job in St. Louis. I found an opportunity to consult at another institution with some different responsibilities which will give me more experience and a better opportunity to complete a job search while giving Millikin enough time to make decisions about the admissions office.”
Havis will be the interim vice president of enrollment at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark. where the institution’s president is, interestingly enough, former vice president of enrollment and last semester’s interim president Rich Dunsworth. This is a seven month contracted position which will give Havis the opportunity to start a job search in July. He began Dec. 2.
“I reached out to Dunsworth and thought of an opportunity to do this and support him,” Havis said. “He doesn’t have a vice president of enrollment. He needs help with enrollment and he’s the president, so he has plenty on his plate to do. I can help him with enrollment, [the] only difference is this is not full time so there are no expectations.”
Havis wants to make it crystal clear that he was not forced out or asked to resign. This is a common piece of speculation due to the numerous administration changes and budget cuts currently in effect. He and his wife, Jody, have been thinking about moving for several years for their own personal and professional development.
“There’s never a right [time] for leadership to leave,” he said. “It’s always difficult to replace historical experience, but this is a great transition opportunity. I’m confident in Sarah and Kevin and Lin that they know how to enroll. I’ve developed my staff in ways that are expected.
“I love this institution. Everything I know is from here. Students, faculty, administration and staff have taught me everything. I’ve been so blessed that words don’t do justice for the credibility. I love and believe in this place. To hear students respond back about what they remember when I admitted them and know them as graduates. It’s been impressive. You never know what ends up happening, at least not right away. This is it for me right now.”
In the end, Havis hopes that people will recognize the love and passion he has for Millikin.
“It’s changed my life as a student, it’s changed my life as a professional and I’ve watched it change lives of students on a daily basis,” he said. “This place has magic. I hope people will remember me by how much I love this place and care for the students who come into experiencing the institution. And I know that the faculty will continue to carry that passion and Millikin spirit forward. I have great faith in the leadership of this institution and the mission and vision of James Millikin.”
As for Havis’ replacement, former Dean of Admission and Millikin alum Lin Stoner has agreed to step in as an interim.
Interim Vice President of Enrollment Sarah Shupenus said, “Stoner worked at Millikin for more than 30 years, retiring in 2005. Since then, he has remained close touch with Millikin and recently served as a recruitment consultant to Millikin’s Athletic Department. He agreed upon my asking and without hesitation to return to Millikin and to serve as Director of Admission throughout the academic year. During that time, Millikin will review our wants and needs for the Office of Admission and determine our next steps. We do plan to secure the next leadership for admission before school starts in the fall. We wish Director Havis well in his new endeavor, and thank him for his years of service.”
President Patrick White also wishes the best for Havis.
“I’m sad to see Joe go,” he said. “He has done a great job and brought in a lot of energy and I wish him well.”