Nominee for Director: Wes Waggoner

Wes Waggoner - Director Nominee

Wes Waggoner
Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management
Southern Methodist University (TX)

Jump to: Nominee SpeechBio | Intro Video

"How do your experiences align with NACAC’s new mission and vision statements?"

College admission changed my life! I am not alone saying this among colleagues in this profession. For so many of us, the admission process has provided a pathway for dreams to come true. It is a pathway that motivates us and forms the bedrock of our national association.  A process once defined by the privileged has evolved into an instrument that seeks to ensure all students, especially those who might be labeled ‘disadvantaged’, can change their lives - and the lives of those around them. NACAC has mission and vision statements that will guide our association through an important national conversation happening today about what it means to apply to college.  These statements focus on empowering each of us as professionals and ensuring that all students have access to higher education – access that can change their lives.

For me, a high school senior from a small rural town in Missouri whose parents had not gone to college, I never really considered myself disadvantaged. I never imagined that the pathway was closed to me, but I also had no idea of the possibilities that lie at the other end. Partially privileged and perhaps a bit naive, I saw college as an opportunity.  And I took it. That pathway and this profession has allowed me global experiences and inspiring conversations which as a 17-year-old, first-gen, low-income, (not yet out) gay male I only dreamed of in textbooks, magazines, and the movies.

Now entering my fourth decade of a career in guiding students and families along this pathway, I navigate important, though sometimes challenging, discussions about admission policies, recruitment practices, and financial aid commitments with trustees, administrators, donors, alumni, the media, and others.  These discussions will shape both my institution and the lives of its students for decades to come.  To the table, I bring an intentional, thoughtful, and goal-focused voice for such conversations.  Mine is not loud and revolutionary.  It is one of both passion and compassion, both activity and creativity, and one dedicated to both purpose and progress.  With strategic planning, data analysis, and a commitment to make a difference, I strive to build consensus by helping individuals align sometimes opposing ideals with common goals. This approach has led my institution to make remarkable progress in advancing access, equity, and inclusion even at an affluent, selective, private university about which some might assume stereotypes.

NACAC is stepping into a new era that will undoubtedly produce meaningful and positive change for students, counselors, and institutions. As members we need and we expect leadership that will fuel and inspire some while nudging and guiding others. College admission and financial aid led me to a prestigious, private university 14-hours from home. They nudged and guided me from volunteer tour guide to chief enrollment officer. My career and my education aim to inspire and transform lives of students from all backgrounds to all types of institutions.  I look forward to helping NACAC widen that pathway to the future of American higher education. 

Wes's Nominee Speech

"What about NACAC's mission and vision excites you? What role would you hope to play?"




  • Member, 1991-present
  • Professional Development Committee: Member, 2004-06; Chair, 2006-08

Texas ACAC

  • Member, 1991 & 1998-present
  • Admission & College Counseling Institute: Faculty, 2008-10; Higher Ed. Curriculum chair, 2011-13
  • NACAC Assembly Delegate, 2009-12
  • Executive Board: Member, 2007-10
  • Admission Practices Committee: Member, 2002-03; Chair, 2003-05

Southern ACAC

  • Member, 1995-98

Great Plains ACAC

  • Member, 1991-95
  • Admission Practices Committee: Member, 1994-95

Other Professional Organizations

  • The College Board: SAT Score Choice Task Force: Member, 2003-05; SAT Advisory Committee: Member, 2005-08; Colloquium Planning Committee: Member, 2010-13; Enrollment Leadership Group: Member, 2016-19; Counseling and Admission Assembly Council: Member, 2017-20; Access & Diversity Collaborative: Member, 2013-present; College Connections Advisory Committee: Member, 2020-present; Admission Research Consortium: Member, 2021-present
  • Enrollment Planning Network: Steering Committee: Member, 2018-21; Program Committee: Member, 2015-18 and 2022-present
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers: Member, 2011-present
  • Southern Consortium of Colleges and Universities: Participant, 2005-2015 & 2021


  • Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX: Dean of Admission & Executive Director of Enrollment Resources, 2011-15; Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, 2011-present
  • Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX: Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Freshman Admission, 2005-11
  • Forth Worth Country Day, Forth Worth, TX: 6th Grade History Teacher & Associate Director of Admission, 1998-99; Director of College Counseling, 1999-2005
  • Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA: Director of College Counseling, 1995-98;
  • The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK: Admission Counselor, 1993-95
  • Tulane University, New Orleans, LA: Admission Counselor, 1991-921; Alumni Affairs Project Coordinator, 1991-93


  • Ed.D. Southern Methodist University, Education Policy & Leadership-Higher Education, Dallas, TX
  • M.B.A. University of Dallas, Not for Profit Management, Irving, TX
  • B.A. Tulane University, History, New Orleans, LA


  • 2021 NACAC National Conference: New National Study Defines the Role of Stress, Psychographics & Psychographic Groupings on College Selection and the Strategies Colleges Should Adopt Now
  • Winter 2020 AACRAO’s College & University (vol. 95, issue 1): Our Higher Calling: Rebuilding the Partnership between America and its Colleges & Universities (book review)
  • 2019 ACT Enrollment Management Summit: Using Disciplinary and Criminal History in College Admission
  • 2016 Independent Schools Association of the Southwest Admission Directors Conference: Mission, Marketing & Metrics - Does Paying the Bills Mean Paying the Piper?
  • 2014 Texas ACAC Annual Conference: Enhancing the College Visit Experience
  • 2011 Prepárate - Educating Latinos for the Future of America: How to Give a College Planning Presentation
  • 2010 Texas ACAC Annual Conference: The Role of Dual Credit and Advanced Placement in College Admission Decisions
  • 2000 College Board Forum: Supporting LGBTQ Students in the College Admission Process
  • 1998 Southern ACAC Annual Conference: College Advising for LGBTQ Students

Intro Video

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