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Vassar College dean to head Stanford undergraduate admissions

STANFORD -- James Montoya, dean of student life at Vassar College and the holder of two Stanford degrees, has been named dean of undergraduate admissions at Stanford, effective Sept. 1.

He succeeds Jean Fetter, who announced in January that she would step down after more than six years in the position.

A native of San Jose, Montoya earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish from Stanford in 1975 and a master's in education, with a concentration in administration and policy analysis, in 1978.

At his undergraduate commencement, Montoya was presented the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education at Stanford. The award cited his scholarship, the quality of his work as a resident assistant, and his "wise, articulate, and effective presentation of the interests of all students as a member of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aids."

Montoya said he was "thrilled to be returning to Stanford."

"I recognize that Jean Fetter has set a wonderful example for me to follow, and I certainly recognize the challenges of the position," he said. "I wish to play a role in keeping Stanford at the forefront of the college admissions world and hope to be a visible figure on a national level in organizations that relate to admissions."

Montoya has been at Vassar College since 1986, first as director of admission, and since 1989 as dean of student life, with oversight of the admissions office. Between 1975 and 1985 he was at Occidental College, where his last position was that of dean of admissions.

He is a member of the College Board's Trustee Committee on Membership, a member of the scholarship review panel of the Coca-Cola Foundation, and a trustee of the National Hispanic Institute.

He also is a faculty member of the College Board Summer Institute on College Admissions and School Relations, an associate member of the Association of Black Admission and Financial Aids Officers of the Ivy League and Sister Schools, and a member of the advisory board of Private Colleges Magazine.

"Montoya is a seasoned professional with roots at Stanford and a national reputation among college and university admissions professionals," said Sally Mahoney, acting vice president for student resources, in making the announcement.

"He brings well-honed skills, strong commitment to excellence in a diverse student body, fresh ideas, and a zest for working with the first-rate Stanford staff who look forward to working with him."

Agreed Stanford President Donald Kennedy: "Stanford has a great tradition of creative leadership in admissions. Jim Montoya's broad experience and Stanford background make him an ideal choice to extend that tradition."

During Fetter's time at the helm, the percentage of African American, Mexican American, Native American and Asian American students among Stanford's entering freshmen grew from 27 percent to 41.3 percent. (Asian American students accounted for most of the increase, but the percentage of other non-whites is now the highest in Stanford's history.) Academic abilities of all applicants, as measured by grade point averages and Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, also showed consistent improvement.

Montoya's appointment follows a national search, chaired by Dean of Undergraduate Studies Thomas Wasow, that involved the screening of more than 65 candidates. Six of the finalists were invited to a series of campus interviews and three were considered as finalists for the position.

Other members of the search committee included John Bender, professor of English; Albert Camarillo, associate professor of history; John Harbaugh, professor of applied earth sciences; Anne Kiremidjian, professor of civil engineering; Goodwin Liu, student; Denis Phillips, professor of education; Condoleezza Rice, associate professor of political science; Virginia Walbot, professor of biological sciences, and Jeffrey Wine, professor of psychology.



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