Melvin to retire after a decade leading UB enrollment management

Published November 20, 2023

Lee Melvin, who has led UB’s enrollment efforts for the past decade, is retiring from the university at the end of the year.

Lee Melvin.

As UB’s inaugural vice provost for enrollment management and a member of the president’s cabinet, Melvin was tasked with envisioning, developing and implementing an enrollment management strategy to maintain academic momentum and move UB to higher levels of excellence. The Office of Enrollment Management includes undergraduate domestic and international admissions, graduate admissions operations, financial aid, enrollment systems, enrollment management analytics, Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), strategic content and marketing, and 1Capen.

Melvin developed an enrollment strategy, including the adoption of holistic admissions, that led to impressive undergraduate application and enrollment growth at UB.

“Mr. Melvin has transformed UB’s on-campus, off-campus and virtual student recruitment events and initiatives, leading to a 68% increase in the number of applications to UB from 2013 to 2023,” Provost A. Scott Weber said in a memo to the UB community on Nov. 3 announcing Melvin’s upcoming retirement. “These programs have also been critical to students’ decision to enroll at UB and to creating a welcoming campus environment for students and their families.” 

Through these strategic enrollment-planning efforts and enhanced recruitment programs, undergraduate enrollment has increased by 13% over a seven-year period, with first-time freshman enrollment increasing by 24% during that time. Melvin’s leadership also contributed to growth in master’s enrollment in recent years, as well as an increase in the gender, geographic and racial diversity of UB’s student population. In 2015, the university set an ambitious 30,000-student enrollment target by 2020 and under Melvin’s leadership, this goal was reached one year earlier than projected in the enrollment plan.

Melvin was also committed to reducing the costs of higher education. He increased the number of students entering on scholarships and collaborated with SUNY Central to rebuild and increase enrollment for UB’s EOP entering enrollment cohorts.

Student services also have substantially improved — to the benefit of all UB students — under Melvin’s watch. Financial aid operations have been transformed, leading to enhanced operations and earlier awarding of aid. Moreover, the 1Capen and 1Diefendorf “one-stop-shops” were developed during his tenure, providing streamlined essential services for all UB students.

“My role over the last 10 year as UB’s inaugural enrollment manager has been and honor and privilege,” Melvin tells UBNow. “We built an excellent team of professional student services staff while focused on developing a best-in-practice organization focused on identifying and enrolling talented students from across the globe.

“I want to thank my colleagues for their past and continued support of enrollment management initiatives and programs in order to make a positive impact on the lives on students seeking an education from UB. Onward and upward!”

A national leader in strategic recruitment, enrollment and admissions, Melvin has served as chair of the AAU group for chief enrollment managers. He is a member of the U.S. News and World Report Admissions Advisory Committee and the Cambridge International Education Strategic Higher Education Advisory Council. He also is a founding member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success.

In retirement, Melvin says he plans to focus on building his not-for-profit organization to provide free, college-prep admissions counseling to students attending low-resourced high schools who have no access to professional admissions advisers.