UF’s new vice president for enrollment management and associate provost is Mary Parker, a former vice president of enrollment management at Kent State University.
With over two decades of experience in enrollment services and higher education, Parker said she is ready to start at UF in her new position by building relationships with the university’s community.
“I love to get to know people,” she said. “When you have that trust, you can really work together to do things differently.”
Parker worked as the vice president of enrollment management at Kent State University in Ohio since 2019 before beginning at UF Aug. 2, according to a UF press release. Before working in Ohio, she also worked as associate vice president of enrollment management at the University of Utah, according to the release.
Parker received a doctorate of education from the University of Pennsylvania and has experience meeting student needs in higher education, according to the release.
Through her experience in previous positions, Parker said she has worked on increasing enrollment and retention rates. Now, at UF, she said she strives to solve problems through data and bring people together.
“I think it’s important that you have what we call diversity of thought,” she said. “I like to bring people together and different people together so that we can work on a problem, address that problem from our various perspectives and come up with the best solution.”
Melody Tankersley, the senior vice president and provost of Kent State University, wrote in an email that she watched Parker support and empower people in their goals, provide strong leadership and work as a great collaborator while working together.
“No one works harder, or with more integrity, than Mary Parker,” Tankersley wrote. “We only half-kiddingly say that we measure time at Kent State as ‘Before Mary Parker’ and ‘After Mary Parker’ to designate how much value she has added and the impact her work has had on the university.”
Parker said she began her career in higher education while she was trying to get into law school. But when she took a part-time position in financial aid, her career plan shifted course, she said.
“I just fell in love with the aspect of higher education,” she said. “I saw where education really helps students, and I wanted to be in a position where I could help them come to college, get their degree and then see them improve their lives.”
She intends to bring her background on how to work for the betterment of students to UF to improve student experiences while helping the institution and herself improve, Parker said.
Joseph Glover, the UF provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said Parker could help UF move into the next decade.
UF chose Parker due to her professional background, achievements and good personality, Glover said. Her traits will fit with the university’s cabinet members and enrollment management staff, he said.
“We have confidence in her abilities and her leadership,” he said.
Parker said she is looking forward to learning more about the college and meeting the people who make UF what it is.
“I’m honored and humbled and just excited to be at the university,” she said.
Contact Antonia LaRocca at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @antoniarlarocca.
Antonia LaRocca is a staff writer at The Alligator.