Pitt Admissions and Financial Aid Director Betsy Porter to Retire June 30, 2012

Issue Date: 
September 26, 2011
Betsy PorterBetsy Porter

Betsy Porter, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, will retire June 30, 2012, Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson announced. At the helm of Pitt’s student recruitment efforts since 1986, Porter is widely credited with elevating the University’s status through her shaping of Pitt’s undergraduate student population.

Among Porter’s many accomplishments are a threefold increase in the number of applicants to the Pittsburgh campus, a 170-point surge in incoming freshmen’s average SAT scores, the near tripling of freshmen enrolled who were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and enhancing the diversity of the student body.

“Demand for admission to Pitt’s programs has grown dramatically during Dr. Porter’s leadership as director of Admissions and Financial Aid, as has the academic strength displayed by newly enrolled students,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “For two-and-a-half decades, Dr. Porter has consistently recruited outstanding Pitt freshman classes, and we always will be grateful for her substantial contribution to the University’s unparalleled progress in recent years.”

“It is difficult to think of a single individual who has done more than Betsy to shape the profile of the undergraduate student population on the Pittsburgh campus, thereby elevating the University’s reputation across the state and the nation,” said Beeson.

Porter joined the University in 1978 as senior associate director of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid; prior to that, she served as associate director of admissions at Duquesne University, from 1970 to 1978.

Porter’s many accomplishments at Pitt include successfully integrating admissions and financial aid into a single, efficient operation. When faced with a demographic decline in the number of high school graduates in Pennsylvania during the 1980s through the early 1990s and again beginning in 2004, she also successfully implemented a strategic recruiting plan that has resulted in increasingly diverse, strong, and well-prepared freshman classes. Under her stewardship, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid has awarded and disbursed for the 2010-11 academic year more than $290 million in financial aid—including federal, state, institutional, and private sources—while maintaining compliance with ever-changing federal, state, and institutional regulations and policies.

Each year, Porter and her staff review and process more than 25,000 applications for undergraduate admission and more than 20,000 financial aid requests.

As a member of the University’s Council of Deans and Enrollment Management Committee, Porter has helped shape policies that have improved Pitt’s undergraduate educational offerings, programs, and services and have increased student satisfaction, retention, and graduation rates.  Porter also has served as a member of the Senate Council on Admissions and Financial Aid Committee and the Universitywide Athletic Compliance Committee.

Porter’s service to the University was recognized in 2000, when the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid received the Provost’s Award for Service Excellence. In 2008, she received the University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council Sankofa Award for outstanding student support. Her other awards include the Gold Echo Award for Creativity from the Direct Mail Marketing Association and the National Association of College Admission Counselors Editor’s Award.

Porter is a member of a dozen professional associations, including the College Board and ACT. She served on the Middle States Regional Council of the College Board and chaired the Pennsylvania ACT Council Executive Committee.

Porter earned her PhD in higher education administration from Pitt in 1984, her MEd in guidance counseling from Duquesne in 1970, and her BA in elementary education from  the University of Charleston in 1969.

A search committee will be formed in the coming weeks to identify Porter’s successor by Spring 2012.