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Meet Ronn Beck

Ronn Beck
Director of International Recruitment and Admissions
Salve Regina University (RI)

How did you become the director of international recruitment and admissions at Salve Regina?
Two years ago I received a call from one of my former supervisors. He had taken the job as vice president for enrollment at Salve several months before and asked me to follow and build a program. I lobbied for the title “viscount” of international admissions but that wasn’t going to happen despite my reasoning that prospective students might be attracted by royalty. I accepted the offer and the job’s been great.

What made you decide to get into this field?
It was rather roundabout instead of an intentional career path (no surprise). As an undergraduate I helped with open houses and gave the occasional campus tour, but my time was spent playing sports, writing an honors thesis, and thinking about graduate school. After starting my doctoral degree program, I took a leave of absence to care for an ailing parent. I returned home and began looking for jobs in higher education.

As luck would have it, a local college had a counselor position open. In admission, you need to know a little about everything “college,” so I figured it would be a good starting point for future opportunities.

Of course, the follow up question is what made me decide to stay in this field? I was extremely fortunate to start under really great people at supportive institutions. My first deans and directors loved to travel and literally showed me the world. They valued networking and encouraged me to research and present at conferences. They weren’t afraid to try new initiatives and I still have a memento from the year all the men in the office wondered if beards would help. We crossed-trained to the point where I had a rotation in nearly every aspect of the job. It never got boring.

Along the way, I hosted an affiliate’s annual meeting and directed a recruitment tour to Asia before there was email, Internet, and GPS. I picked up some publication awards and made the front page of the Los Angeles Times as one of the first regional representatives on the West Coast. One time, a box of gold bullion arrived from a family in India to pay their child’s tuition, and six years ago, I learned that a former student I recommended to admit had dedicated his first book to me. Where else can all this happen?

What is your favorite part of the job?
This is hard to answer with so many experiences and years in the profession; however, travel may still hold the top spot for me. As Mark Twain said, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” I meet wonderful families, have terrific adventures and it really doesn’t get old (although the lost luggage, bed bugs, and hurricanes this fall dulled some of the luster).

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
It’s been huge, both personally and professionally. My wife and I first met at a national conference and had a former NACAC president attend our wedding. Between the two of us, we have served on five national committees, presented at six national pre-conferences, and claim more than a dozen years with the Guiding the Way to Inclusion/Counselors of Color Workshop. This involvement has also occurred in our regional affiliate where we have both served on the executive board, governing board, and numerous committees.

You’ve been a supporter of the Imagine Fund. Why do you choose to give to NACAC?
A colleague once said that NACAC was a wonder of “knowledge, networking and news.” It’s hard to imagine what our jobs would be like without the listserv, webinars, legislative alerts, research, and conferences. The Fund provides opportunities for ideas to grow. My wife and I each contribute. We’ve been affiliate treasurers and know what financial support can do.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I think I’m always working. I married into the profession and our friends and family have an endless supply of college-bound children so we always talk shop. Business travel gets blended with vacation and vice versa. I keep some woodworking and car hobbies on the side for a distraction.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I made an earlier reference to Mark Twain so it would interesting to be Huckleberry Finn. I’m not sure he ever grew up and there’s those adventures…

Describe yourself in five words.
Thoughtful, creative, fun, patient and green (from my True Colors assessment).

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