Alumnus Jeremiah Quinlan named next dean of undergraduate admissions

Jeremiah Quinlan ’03, deputy dean of Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, has been named the next dean of undergraduate admissions for a term of five years, effective July 1.

Quinlan was selected after a nationwide search, noted President Richard C. Levin, President-elect Peter Salovey, and Yale College Dean Mary E. Miller in a joint letter to the Yale community announcing the appointment. “In that competitive field, Jeremiah’s extraordinary achievements and potential made him a compelling choice, and we are delighted to make this appointment.”

Quinlan, a Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of the Yale College Class of 2003, was hired as an assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions upon graduation, and beginning in 2005, he was named director of outreach and recruitment. He was responsible for a variety of new initiatives aimed at increasing the socioeconomic diversity of the Yale’s applicant pool — including the launch of the Student Ambassador Program and Yale’s collaboration with Questbridge. Quinlan also helped develop and implement a new approach to recruiting admitted students. In 2005 and 2006, he served as an assistant master to the Yale Summer Session, working with and supervising residential counselors, and, together with the summer master, taking responsibility for the 400 students who resided on campus.

Quinlan left Yale in the summer of 2008 to pursue a Master of Business Administration at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He graduated in 2010, earning the Top Student award in the Social Enterprise Department and the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award for “significant and lasting contributions” to the Kellogg community.

After completing his degree, Quinlan returned to New Haven — this time to serve as the deputy dean of undergraduate admissions. He has worked closely with Dean Jeffrey Brenzel on important strategic decisions, personnel matters, and office policy. He led the development of Yale’s approach to the recruitment and selection of students interested in science and engineering, and was one of the driving forces behind the creation of YES (Yale Engineering and Science) Weekend. As a result, Yale has attracted a larger, stronger applicant pool and incoming students with interests in engineering and science. Quinlan has also worked closely with colleagues to develop a new communications strategy for prospective students and parents, and new procedures for measuring the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment efforts.

“Many members of the Admissions Office staff emphasized Jeremiah’s strengths and readiness to serve, his collegiality, and his work ethic. Among other qualities, his colleagues praise his passion and positive energy, his ability to inspire, and his responsiveness to the ideas of others,” noted Levin, Salovey, and Miller in their announcement.

In the spring of 2011, Quinlan took on the additional responsibility of serving as the inaugural dean of admissions and financial aid for Yale-NUS College. “What he has accomplished there is extraordinary,” noted the administrators. “From the ground up, he has built a highly effective staff of 10 professionals, designed a global outreach and recruitment strategy, developed criteria for the award of financial aid, and implemented a process of reviewing admissions candidates holistically that is entirely unprecedented in Asia.” Quinlan has worked to raise awareness of the value of a liberal education at hundreds of outreach events, held workshops on essay writing for applicants, and developed training sessions on writing recommendations for teachers and college counselors.

“Through Jeremiah’s efforts, Yale-NUS College is taking its place as one of the world’s most selective colleges, and the candidates admitted to the first class, entering this coming fall, are comparable to those admitted by many of our Ivy League peers,” said Levin, Salovey, and Miller.

 A search for Quinlan’s replacement at Yale-NUS will begin immediately. 

Outside of the office, Quinlan is an active fellow of Morse College, and enjoys tennis and golf. He is engaged to Jennifer Kowitt, a cum laude graduate of the Yale College Class of 2004 and former educator at the Yale Center for British Art. Kowitt is currently a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut.

In their letter, the administrators thanked Kimberly Goff-Crews, secretary and vice president for student life, who chaired the search committee for the new dean, and the members of her committee: Jasmina Besirevic-Regan, Jeanette Chavira, Raymond Fair, Nina Glickson, Joseph W. Gordon, Stephen Pitti, Mark Saltzman, and Pilar Montalvo, staff to the committee.

Levin, Salovey, and Miller also thanked Brenzel for his “extraordinary” eight-year tenure as the dean of undergraduate admissions. While he had no experience in admissions before becoming dean, “Jeff quickly established himself as one of the nation’s leading voices on admissions policy,” they said, adding “[H]e has managed a complex admissions process that has increased from approximately 19,000 applicants to nearly 30,000 this year. His colleagues in the admissions world hold Jeff in the highest esteem, and he is greatly valued as an internal citizen of the University.”

Next year, Brenzel will continue as master of Timothy Dwight College and teach a full load of undergraduate courses, including two semesters in the Directed Studies program.