Scott Donaldson, Riverton native, was named the university’s new director of admissions, and he said he is excited to start on several goals for the academic year.
“… What I would say right away is immediately my goal to make sure this office is a friendly office to come to, that it’s a fun office to come to, not just for potential students but also for staff members, faculty members, all across campus,” Donaldson said. “We cannot grow this campus if I don’t have assistance from everyone across campus … we want to work together. … That’s why the total campus environment is important in this process. So that’s immediately kind of my goal, to get everybody kind of working together toward growing this enrollment.”
Donaldson brings experience from both education and sales to his new position at PSU. Prior to joining Gorilla Nation, Donaldson graduated from Riverton High School to pursue a job in sales at Ozark Salad Company—a Sara Lee Corporation—in Baxter Springs amongst other opportunities. He later chose to continue his education to fulfill his passion of teaching.
“… Most of my life I’ve spent in sales,” He said. “… About 12, 13 years ago I knew that I kind of wanted to get back into education, I wanted to teach, I wanted to help students, and so I went back to school and got a teaching certificate and I started teaching at Carl Junction High School. Then an opportunity opened up at (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College) in Miami, and so I went down there and taught for three years and then moved into the Admissions Recruitment Office down there and spent five years in that office. And I feel like everything happens for a reason and I feel like the sales, although it may not be direct recruiting, it is exactly the right preparation for this type of job because I should be the best salesperson on campus for Pitt State University, if I’m going to be the director of admissions I should be the best salesperson here, I should get people pumped up and excited and ready to go to school and so I feel like that’s a really good training for what I’m doing today.”
Donaldson is excited to hold this new position for a number of reasons, as it is close to home in more than one sense. Donaldson’s daughter is also transferring to Pitt State this fall as an elementary education major, who also grew up in Riverton.
“… It kind of provides me a different viewpoint,” Donaldson said. “I’m not just another college administrator telling you what you want to here, I mean I’m a dad and my daughter is going to school here, so costs matter to me, scholarships matter to me, housing matters to me, everything a student is concerned about. And they look at me and say, ‘well, he probably doesn’t even care about that,’ I do care about that because my daughter deals with all that. So from a parent I think that gives me different perspective than most other college directors of admissions.”
While Donaldson will stay close to his daughter, he was also pleasantly surprised with this job opportunity from Pitt State to further his experience.
“After spending nine years at a two-year school, I really always thought that in order to move up I was probably going to have to move from Riverton and I really didn’t want to do that because this is home, this is where I’ve spent my entire life,” he said. “So when this opportunity opened up it gave me the opportunity to advance my career personally, continue helping students that I’m already helping, and work for an institution that I’ve known my entire life to be the greatest university in the four-state area. I know that sounds like a tagline, but it’s literally one of the coolest things I’ve ever done; like, I go home at night thinking, ‘I freaking work for Pitt State University.’ … This opportunity opened up and it was a way to stay home and do what I wanted to do, so pretty cool.”
As Donaldson makes the move from an Oklahoma university to a Kansas university, there are big differences as well as similarities within his positions held at both schools.
“… I spent the last nine years working at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami and so a lot of our territories overlap,” he said. “The areas that we recruited in from (NEO) are very similar to what Pitt State recruits in, so I feel like I come in with more than an average knowledge of the area and the students. I grew up here my entire life; I grew up in Riverton … This is where we came for pretty much anything, field trips, we came up here … to view the observatory, we came to football games, so I feel like I’m terribly excited to kind of be in charge of bringing new students to this environment after kind of growing up around it my whole life.”
As Donaldson enters the PSU team, the admissions office will continue working to improve the university and its enrollment through recruiting prospective students, campus tours, and much more.
“… The admissions office is responsible for a lot of different things,” Donaldson said. “First and foremost, I have four recruiters that go out … talk to students in their high schools, and they do what I would call ‘lead generation,’ … My office also handles all the tours on campus and … we try to work with athletics and everyone as far as that goes to offer students an opportunity for students to come through here and see the campus, meet with an academic advisor, stuff like that. We also handle Crimson and Gold Days, we handle Rumble in the Jungle … In addition to that, this office receives applications … I’ve got one last person over there that’s certainly not least, she is the person who kind of communicates with (students) …”
The admissions team will move forward working together and striving to reach their new director’s goals for the office as well as the university as a whole.
“… I don’t know if everybody knows what admissions does, some people probably think ‘well, they just bring students in,’ well, we do but we do a lot more stuff than just that,” Donaldson said. “I guess my job particularly is to make sure all that keeps running, I will from time to time go to college fairs myself … most the time, though, it’s about keeping this thing running.”