This semester there are many faculty members who are new to campus. One in particular is Robert Reese, the new Vice President of Enrollment Management.
Reese started here in February of 2013 as a consultant to the current VP of Enrollment. He came into his new role in June, when the previous VP stepped down from the position.
Reese was part of the military for four years in the coast guard before starting college. He then joined the ROTC, not because he wanted to be in the armed forces, but because it helped to pay his way in college. “I did not want my parents to have to pay for me,” Reese said. The ROTC offered him a guaranteed school. He says that being in the coast guard, he had to do a lot, “but at the very least in the coast guard I would always have a hot meal, always have a bed, and always have a beach. And I like beaches.”
While studying at Marywood University from ’84 to ’88, Reese was a photography and advertising graphics major, and received his Bachelors in Fine Arts. He then got a job at a photo studio where he worked for two short years. When reflecting on the experience, Reese said, “I hated it [in the studio]. It wasn’t my fit and needed to find something better.”
So Reese went back to school. With the help of Marywood’s “tuition remission program” he was able to go back to school at Marywood and received his MBA for free. His wife also received her Masters in teaching, free of charge through Marywood. This is, however, not how he and his wife met. “I broke the cardinal rule to never date your friend’s sister,” Reese said. “My only two opinions were to break up immediately or get married. And here we are years and two beautiful children later.”
While studying, he worked in the admissions office and it wound up sticking with him. Before coming to Cabrini, Reese worked in Marywood University’s admissions and enrollment offices for 18 years.
During that time, he continued serving in the army. Reese held many positions in the army such as infantry, officer and a military intelligence officer over his 18 years of service. He was deployed to Europe for eight months after the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11. While there, he was on duty securing the bases, and he later retired as a major.
When asked about why he made the transition from working at Marywood to Cabrini Reese said, “I knew I had found a school that has a lot of potential. There is a lot of opportunity for growth [at Cabrini] and the people that work here I see as truly believing in what they’re doing.”
Brought in as help for Cabrini’s former VP of Enrollment, Reese helped out with all of his duties. When the VP stepped down, Reese was asked to become interim vice president while Cabrini looked for someone to fill the spot permanently. It just so happened that Reese was the best man for the job and was officially placed into the role in mid-June.
“I think last year was a ‘spike year’ [in enrollment] due to the publicity of the tuition freeze,” Reese said. “This year [enrollment was] actually back down to where it had been in previous years.” The freshman class of 2017 is 316 students strong. It isn’t quite as large as last year’s freshman class but Reese isn’t concerned. “[Enrollment] can’t be guaranteed and with less students going to high school, college enrollments are bound to fluctuate.”
Reese and the enrollment office are working hard to increase enrolled students for future years. They are putting plans into motion and their goal is to bring in at least 365 freshmen for the 2018 graduating class.
By the looks of things, Reese is comfortable in his position here at Cabrini. He is adjusted and gets along with his coworkers, students and prospective students. “This school and its community are something special,” Reese said. “My goal isn’t to change things so much as it is to add to what makes Cabrini an ideal institute of learning.”