Robert Patterson, former deputy director of undergraduate admission at UC-Berkeley, began his new job as Stanford director of admission last week following the departure of former Director Shawn Abbott in May.
Prior to his post at UC-Berkeley, Patterson worked with admission staff at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Berkeley, he oversaw the review of more than 50,000 freshman applications and 15,000 transfer applications.
“Although I’m relatively young in this profession, I’ve had a lot of good experiences and mentors that have helped guide me to what I wanted to be,” said Patterson, 34.
His career in the field of admission began at the University of Pittsburgh, where he started as an admission and financial aid counselor responsible for recruiting and reading applications from New Jersey.
Patterson stayed with the University of Pittsburgh admission office for seven years. During that time, he also earned a master’s degree in education. He is currently conducting research for his Ph.D. on alumni volunteering and involvement in the admission process.
After Pittsburgh, Patterson left to serve as associate director for recruitment at Chapel Hill, where he stayed for four years before moving on to his post at Berkeley in 2009. That was his last stop before coming to Stanford to replace Abbott, who left to become assistant vice president of admission at New York University.
As the new director of admission, Patterson is responsible for directing the daily operations of the undergraduate admission process. He will play an important role in shaping the direction of the University’s admission initiatives and programs, such as the burgeoning alumni interview program.
“That’s one of the things I want to do here,” he said. “The staff here is extremely talented, extremely diverse, very well educated, and I want to get them to do similar types of things that I was able to do in the career and pursue those opportunities to become the gold standard for admission offices.”
Patterson also expressed interest in understanding the experiences of undergraduate students, something that he emphasized was essential to his job as the director. He said it involves speaking with Housing and various student groups.
“We are looking at ways to get involved with the student community through admission associates, who are current students,” he said. “We are trying to engage our staff in cultural and athletic events, for example, so we can understand what students are doing.”
It’s important “because we are the face of the University,” he said. “We are the ones going out giving the Stanford message, and we need to know the student stories to do that. We need to be able to share the student experiences to the entire world.”
“I’m excited about the staff here,” Patterson said, “I’m excited about all the things that are happening here on a daily basis, I’m excited about the weather and I’m excited about getting involved in the community here. I plan on going to Big Game, and I plan on wearing my Stanford red.”
Stanford’s admission rate was a record-low 7.2 percent for the 32,022 applicants to the Class of 2014.
Correction: in an earlier version of this article, The Daily incorrectly reported that Robert Patterson worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for one and a half years; in fact, he worked there for four years. Also, Patterson does not oversee financial aid.