Dr. Gordon Chavis, Jr.
Associate Vice President; Enrollment Services-SDES
University of Central Florida (FL)
What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I recall that as a high school senior, preparing to apply to college, I diligently made an appointment to meet with my college counselor. Anxious about planning for my future, I had carefully researched colleges and was prepared to discuss my list of schools with him. To my surprise, during the conversation, he lacked any excitement about talking to me and told me that the list was inadequate. In fact, he said that I needed to reassess my college options. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was, but I knew then I was going to be guided towards a career that would allow me to help students make informed decisions about their college education.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of this profession is working with students who are like me—the first in their families to go to college. Watching students come alive when they realize their college dreams can come true gives me a great deal of professional satisfaction. However, at this point in my career, I have fewer chances to do that because I am now in a job that requires me to develop and implement admission and financial aid policies that positively impact larger numbers of students. Those opportunities to impact large numbers of students and help them realize their dreams of going to college now give me a different level of professional satisfaction.
How has NACAC played a role in your career?
Professional development is such a critical component of creating a career in the enrollment management space. NACAC provides the opportunity to connect with enrollment management professionals from across the country to learn from their experiences and to discuss topics relevant to our profession today. Those connections are invaluable.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
There are at least two. One, there is a lack of adequate funding for public education in low-resourced communities, which creates inequities in academic preparation for those students. It disallows them to develop academic credentials which would help them reach their full potential. It also causes them to be ill-prepared to successfully transition to college. Two, there is a lack of funding to help make college affordable for low-resourced students. We must do better as a nation. We must help support all students so they can reach their full potential.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I play golf, I give back to my family and church community, and I enjoy traveling.
What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Compassionate, dedicated, diligent, perfectionist, problem-solver.
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