The University of Missouri–St. Louis is committed to expanding access and opportunity to high quality education for students, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, in the St. Louis region and beyond.
Reggie Hill is being tasked with ensuring even more students take advantage of that promise.
UMSL has chosen Hill to serve as its new associate vice chancellor for strategic enrollment. As UMSL’s chief enrollment officer, he will be leading the Office of Admissions and the Office of the Registrar while overseeing the implementation of UMSL’s first-ever strategic enrollment plan to ensure the university’s long-term sustainability through enrollment and retention growth. He will begin his new position on July 1.
“We are excited and delighted that Reggie Hill will be joining UMSL to lead our strategic enrollment efforts and initiatives,” Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Marie Mora said. “He brings 15 years of experience working in enrollment management in higher education, and he has a proven track record of developing and implementing innovative plans and initiatives to meet the enrollment goals of each institution at which he has worked. Reggie has had success not only in increasing the number of students but attracting students from different communities and increasing the diversity of the campuses he’s served.
“These demonstrated outcomes are particularly important in light of UMSL’s mission and vision as well as for our expanding role in cultivating inclusive prosperity throughout the St. Louis region.”
Hill, who is completing his PhD in leadership studies from the University of Central Arkansas, has served as the vice president of marketing and enrollment at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, since October 2016.
Under his leadership, the university saw a 39 percent increase in enrollment over the last three admission cycles, and student diversity increased by 38 percent with a more than 200 percent increase in international student enrollment.
Before that, he spent two stints working in admissions at Saint Leo University – his undergraduate alma mater – with a year serving as the director of admissions and enrollment services at Florida Polytechnic University in between. Both universities are located in suburban Tampa, not far from where Hill grew up in St. Petersburg.
He’s eager now to make a home in the Midwest and help strengthen UMSL’s role as the workforce driver for the St. Louis region.
“I’ve grown to love St. Louis after visiting multiple times,” Hill said. “I’m excited about growing and sustaining an institution here. I look at some of the economic and social and cultural challenges that St. Louis faces, but it also has many opportunities as a re-emerging market. For the better part of U.S. history, it has been a vibrant city. It has gone through some transition, but it is re-emerging.
“I love the chancellor’s position on anchoring this institution to St. Louis, to the business community. I think that’s where education is going – building more strategic partnerships with industry.”
He believes UMSL’s portfolio of academic programs leave it well-positioned to meet the needs of both career-seeking students and employers throughout the St. Louis region.
Hill, who majored in history and international studies as an undergraduate, once saw himself pursuing a career in politics or the law.
While attending Saint Leo University, he worked on a winning campaign for city council. That helped him catch the attention of the university president because the winning candidate was a member of Saint Leo’s Board of Trustees, and Hill found himself invited to dinner with both of them after the election. He remembers the president at one point leaning over to him and saying, “Admissions is more like politics. Why don’t you come to work for me?”
Hill didn’t think he should turn down an offer from the president for a guaranteed job after graduation, so he deferred his law school acceptance and took the job in admissions.
He said he quickly fell in love with higher education and providing access and opportunity to students.
Hill, who also holds an MBA from Saint Leo University, believes the president was right about admissions being like politics.
“You have your ground campaign, which is your admissions counselors,” Hill said. “You’re going out there giving many stump speeches in high schools and college fairs, and you have to say the same thing over and over and over and over, and then you have your digital campaign, which consists of digital marketing, whether it’s on social media platforms, in-app advertising or email communication. All of those are going out to different constituents with the same narrative but different messaging targeted at a specific audience. You have to build a very sophisticated campaign to get different constituents to hear the same message.”
That is what he aims to do at UMSL. It will start with building on the university’s strength serving transfer students and adult learners with its flexible degree options and quality online programs. He will also work to help UMSL broaden its appeal to reach more first-time freshmen and international students.
“We want to see significant growth year over year in enrollment until we get to a point where we can’t accept more students,” Hill said. “But I think that notion is kind of illusionary here at UMSL because we do have online, we do have graduate, we do have these opportunities to grow enrollment, and we don’t necessarily have to house students at the physical campus to accomplish growth.
“So we want significant growth while driving toward the institution’s mission to become a national leader in education, right here in the St. Louis region and beyond.”
Mora expressed appreciation to Dixie Williams for serving as interim associate vice chancellor for strategic enrollment throughout the search that led to Hill’s hiring. Williams will resume her full-time role as director of admissions on July 1.