Hampshire College Raises Projection for Student Enrollment, Relaunches Admissions

Preliminary projections for fall enrollment on the Amherst, Mass. campus:

  • 700-750 students representing 42 U.S. states, Washington, DC, and 13 countries
  • 32% students of color
  • 22% first-generation students
  • 82% living on campus
  • 13:1 student:faculty ratio

Under new President Ed Wingenbach, who began his tenure this month, Hampshire is rebuilding its admissions office to recruit and enroll a new class of students for 2020. Wingenbach has appointed key administrators and is guiding the College in its work advancing other key priorities:

  • delivering a quality education in the most student-driven degree program in the country,
  • developing its major fundraising campaign and growing its advancement team, and
  • renewing its pioneering academic program.

Relaunching Admissions for 2020

Under the guidance of Interim Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Kevin Kelly, Hampshire is actively filling its open staff positions, moving to admit a class for fall 2020, and taking steps to grow back to its full enrollment capacity within five years. Hampshire relaunched applications through the Common App this month and high school students have already begun to apply to enroll in fall 2020, when the College will also celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Kelly brings four decades of administrative experience in enrollment management, with long tenures at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Boston University, and, from 2005 to 2015, as director of undergraduate admissions at UMass Amherst. Over the past three years, he has held interim positions overseeing enrollment management at several Northeast colleges. Kelly will also help prepare Hampshire for a search for a permanent dean of admissions and financial aid.

Prospective high school and transfer students can:

Academic Innovation Launch

The Academic Affairs division has worked diligently to maintain Hampshire’s innovative academic program, ensuring sufficient course seats and advisers for its students and their individualized programs. Currently Hampshire employs 83 faculty members.

At the same time, Hampshire is working to develop a compelling plan for the future of its academic program, one that represents its identity as an experimenting college and presents a model for other colleges.

President Wingenbach has invited students and the entire College community to help launch Hampshire’s next 50 years starting with a celebratory event for students, faculty, and staff on Tuesday September 3. The event comprises the president’s welcome followed by a working-group process where community members will share and collaborate on ideas. For students, this year promises to be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help shape Hampshire’s future. Hampshire alums are invited to a similar virtual launch event on Thursday, September 12.

These events will lead to ongoing, regular meetings through October as the College explores new academic and operational models and creates a viable vision and plan.


The College welcomes as its new chief advancement officer, Jennifer Chrisler, who joins Hampshire from UMass Dartmouth, where she was vice chancellor for university advancement. Before that, she was vice president of alumnae relations at Smith College, her alma mater. Chrisler will be a member of Hampshire’s leadership team, guiding the development of its strategic advancement plan including an emerging major fundraising campaign, the largest in its history, to encompass its 50th anniversary.

While the Board and senior leaders are finalizing the campaign plan and goal, Hampshire is moving to raise $20 million in the campaign’s first year (by June 30, 2020) to secure the College’s finances in the short term and prepare for long-term planning.

Managing Finances and Operations

While working to rebuild to its full enrollment capacity, Hampshire faces significant revenue challenges over the next few years. President Wingenbach is working with Chief Financial Officer Peter Shea and the Board to carefully assess and manage the College's budget amid reduced revenues, while fully supporting three core commitments: ensuring the quality of student experience, recruiting new students, and fundraising and exploring new revenue sources to secure Hampshire's future.

Peter Shea is a CPA who worked for 25 years for Amherst College including as treasurer, the college’s chief financial officer. He retired this summer after seven years in a similar position at Roxbury Latin School. Shea will work on a part-time basis in support of Hampshire for at least six months and as long as 24 months. The same is true for Hampshire’s Director of Operations Larry Archey, who retired from Hampshire two years ago as director of facilities, after nearly three decades with the College, and returned this summer.

Additional Key Appointments

Djola Branner was recently named vice president of student affairs, building on 12 years of experience as a faculty member, adviser, and former dean of the School for Interdisciplinary Arts. He joins Pam Tinto, dean of students for student engagement, and Susie Mitton-Shannon, dean of students for community development, as the leadership team overseeing student affairs. Branner and the team will lead a student-life division that fosters a respectful, inclusive community in support of all students. He remains a professor of theater and will continue to teach and advise students, at a reduced level.

Natalie Sowell has assumed the role of dean of institutional diversity and inclusion, in addition to serving as dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts. A member of the president’s team, she’ll be responsible for providing vision and leadership and involving the entire campus in its responsibility to advance diversity, equity, access, and inclusion, as well as the College’s commitments to antiracism and community engagement. Sowell has been a member of the Hampshire community and its faculty for 15 years.

The College has further strengthened its leadership resources this summer by welcoming new members to its Board of Trustees:

  • Elle Chan 87F, Co-founder and Executive Producer, Trademark Event Productions
  • Dayna Cunningham P12, Founder and Executive Director, MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab); Co-founder, NextShift Collaborative LLC
  • Josiah Erikson 97F P13 (staff trustee), Associate Director of Information Technology for Infrastructure and Communications Systems, Hampshire College
  • Stephan Jost 87F, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and Chief Executive Officer, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Aram Martirosyan 16F (student trustee)
  • Catherine Smith 71F, Commissioner (Retired), Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Jordan Strauss 96F, Associate Managing Director, Duff & Phelps

The Board has always been a working board of volunteers contributing their time and resources on behalf of Hampshire, and currently comprises 22 members.

Hampshire’s Strengths and Assets

  • Over 12,000 alums, hundreds of faculty and staff, and thousands of friends and supporters committed to its mission
  • Its reputation as a national leader in higher education that advanced high-impact practices of student-designed degree programs, capstone research requirements, inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, faculty-student research and co-learning, and narrative assessment.
  • 50-year membership in the Five College Consortium, in partnership with its founding institutions Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • 800+ acres of property valued at more than $100 million
  • Location in one of the most popular college towns in the US
  • An endowment of more than $50 million that has been growing at record levels and remains one of the most socially responsible endowments in the country, avoiding investments in fossil fuels, weapons makers, and private prisons
  • Its national leadership in social justice and environmental sustainability
  • Its operational, sustainable farm, recognized as one of the leading educational farms run by a liberal arts college
  • Its partnership with the Cultural Village on its campus, comprising the Yiddish Book Center, Eric Carle Children's Museum, and Hitchcock Center for the Environment

Relevant Web Links



President’s Office

President’s Letters and Speeches

Board of Trustees

Hampshire College on Social Media

Twitter: @hampshirecolg

Instagram: @hampshirecollege



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