Balmer to Leave Position as Dean

An all-college email from President Roseman on Tuesday, Oct. 29 announced that Stephanie Balmer, vice president of Marketing, Enrollment and Communications and dean of Admissions, will leave her position at Dickinson at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year. Balmer accepted a new position as head of school at Harpeth Hall, a grades 5-12 independent school for girls in Nashville, TN. She will assume her new position at Harpeth on July 1, 2014.

“While I have only worked with Stephanie for a short time, her tremendous talents and deep love for this college were abundantly clear to me upon meeting her during the presidential search,” said Roseman in her email. “Over the ensuing months, that impression has only deepened—Dickinson College has benefitted so greatly from her leadership and dedicated service over the past five and a half years.”

Balmer was appointed Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid in 2008 by President Bill Durden ’77, leaving her position as dean of Admissions at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. Since her appointment, Balmer has served as a member of the President’s staff, All-College Committee on Planning and Budget, All-College committee on Enrollment and Student Life, campaign Steering committee, and the President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability, among others.

Balmer has also overseen the admittance of larger, more competitive, and more diverse first-year classes. According to admissions statistics published on the Dickinson website, the college’s acceptance rate decreased nine percentage points during Balmer’s tenure. Applications have increased by 20% from 2009 – 2011, when they reached a record high of 6,067 applicants. The college has also witnessed increased enrollment of minority students and students on need-based aid.

“But even more important than these impressive accomplishments has been Stephanie’s desire to immerse herself so completely in the life of Dickinson,” said Roseman in her email. “From her endless travel to meet with prospective students and their families and high-school counselors, to regional and national speaking engagements that always benefitted Dickinson’s reputation and visibility, to her unending energy and keen eye ensuring that as a college we always put our best foot forward when welcoming visitors to campus, to standing on the sideline…she has been a ferocious and loyal supporter!”

According to Roseman’s email, Balmer’s move to Nashville will put her closer to her extended family, and allow her husband, the director of Business Development for a Nashville-based healthcare company, to be closer to his corporate headquarters.

Administrators and students reacted to the news of Balmer’s departure, which was made public for the first time in Roseman’s email.
“I am sad to see [Balmer] go but understand completely the considerations that went into her decision,” said Joyce Bylander, Vice-President of Student Development. “I am looking forward, as I’m sure we all are, of continuing our good work in progress with Dean Balmer through the end of the academic year.”

“Dean Balmer is a nationally recognized leader in higher education,” said Andrew Bell ’14, Liberty Cap Society intern. “She has been the definition of a transformative leader since stepping on our campus. Always leading by example, her legacy will forever shape Dickinson. She will be truly missed.”