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Chris Watson named assistant vice president for student outreach and dean of undergraduate admission

Admissions leader to continue guiding University undergraduate admission office
Chris Watson
Chris Watson

EVANSTON - Christopher Watson, dean of undergraduate admission at Northwestern University, has been named assistant vice president for student outreach and dean of undergraduate admission, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro announced today (June 7).

Watson will continue in his current position as the leader of the University’s office of undergraduate admission, a position he has held since 2007. He now will report directly to President Schapiro in his capacity as assistant vice president and will become a member of the president’s senior staff. 

“Chris has done a remarkable job guiding our undergraduate admissions efforts, as is evidenced by the outstanding record of success we have had during the past decade,” President Schapiro said. “I look forward to working even more closely with Chris in his new role.”

During Watson’s time as dean of undergraduate admission, applications for admission increased from 24,996 for the class enrolling in fall 2008 to 37,256 for the class enrolling in fall 2017, a 49 percent increase. The acceptance rate has dropped from 26 percent to 9 percent. The number of admissions visitors to campus has doubled to approximately 62,000 annually.

At the same time, the diversity of the entering class has increased significantly. Enrollment of Chicago Public School graduates increased from 1 percent of the entering class to 6 percent. African-American student enrollment increased from 4 percent to 10 percent, and Latino/Hispanic enrollment increased from 6 percent to 12 percent. This year’s entering class is anticipated to have 19 percent of students who are eligible for Pell grants, a record number for the University.

“The success that we have had as an office of admission is a tribute to the terrific work of the admissions staff and the guidance of Mike Mills, associate provost for enrollment management,” Watson said. “Working together with President Schapiro, I am confident that we will continue to be successful in our efforts to attract and enroll some of the best students in the world.”

Before coming to Northwestern, Watson served as associate dean and director of admission at Princeton University and prior to that in the admissions office at Boston University. A graduate of Bowdoin College, he earned his master’s degree from Boston University.