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Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73 to retire this year

Miller has sculpted more diverse, competitive applicant pool over decade of service

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

After more than 10 years at Brown, Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73 will retire later this year, Provost Richard Locke wrote in a community-wide email Tuesday.

Miller has worked in financial aid and admissions for the last four decades across several universities, including Harvard and Bowdoin College. He stepped into his current role at the University in 2005.

During his tenure, Miller has admitted over 28,000 students and has played a crucial role in shaping Brown’s campus culture and community.

“I have tried very hard over my career to make the places I have worked accessible to as many people as I can,” Miller said. “I have tried to bring to those places people from all backgrounds and all experiences — to try to build student bodies that represent America and the rest of the world.”

Since the start of his service, the University’s applicant pool has doubled in size, peaking at a record 32,000 applicants for the Class of 2020.

Brown has become a more selective school under Miller’s leadership. While the acceptance rate for the Class of 2010 was 13.8 percent, last year’s rate for the Class of 2019 came in at 8.5 percent.

Miller has also overseen an increase in student body diversity, as the number of students of color matriculating has jumped by 40 percent during his decade-long tenure.

“Brown is a very different place now from the one I attended 40 years ago,” Miller said. “That didn’t happen by accident.”

Throughout his time at the University, Miller has spearheaded substantial changes to the way prospective students apply. He led Brown to adopt the Common Application in 2007 and helped forge its partnership with the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success this year. He has moved Brown’s application and evaluation processes online and played a major role in reshaping the alumni interviewing program, Locke wrote.

“Working in admissions, you spend your life going 100 miles per hour on the inside lane,” Miller said. “I want to be on the outside lane now.”

Yet, Miller said he still wishes to remain in higher education, without completely resigning himself to “a beach sipping rum drinks with umbrellas” for the rest of his life — although he says that wouldn’t be too bad, either.

A search committee will be formed within the next few weeks to find Miller’s successor, and will seek both internal and external applicants, Locke said. The University has not yet decided whether it will staff the search itself, or require the use of an external search firm, he added.

“Jim did an amazing job here,” Locke said. “We want someone who can continue his legacy of recruiting the very best students out there.”

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