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Villanova University Appoints J. Leon Washington as Dean of Enrollment Management

J. Leon Washington

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced the appointment of J. Leon Washington as Dean of Enrollment Management, effective September 1. An accomplished administrator with more than 35 years of experience in all aspects of enrollment management, Washington currently serves as the Vice Provost for Admissions and Financial Aid at Lehigh University. This key appointment is the result of a rigorous national search that included a wide range of high-caliber candidates.

“Leon Washington comes to Villanova with an impressive track record that includes both depth and breadth of experience and knowledge of enrollment management practices in higher education,” said Father Donohue. “I know that Villanova will continue to attract and enroll an increasingly impressive student body under Leon’s leadership.”

As Vice Provost of Admissions and Financial Aid at Lehigh, Washington managed all aspects of enrollment management. In this role, he designed and implemented a long-term strategic plan to meet the university’s ambitious enrollment goals, which included significantly increasing the total and quality of applications, as well as growing the number of enrolled international and multicultural students. He also was responsible for expanding the national representation of the university, which historically has drawn students primarily from the Northeast region.

“I am delighted to have the honor of becoming the next Dean of Enrollment Management at an institution as prestigious as Villanova,” said Washington. “The ability to partner closely with the University’s senior leaders to determine the enrollment and financial aid landscape during this time of forward movement is an exciting opportunity.”

Prior to Lehigh University, Washington served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Student Academic Support at the University of California-Davis. As Assistant Vice Chancellor, he designed and implemented the first phase of UC Davis’ new enrollment and recruitment plan, and worked collaboratively with academic units across campus to participate in recruiting, admitting and retaining students. Washington also worked in the Chancellor’s Office at California State University, where he led the enrollment management function for the system’s 23 campuses. Beyond this, he has served in enrollment management leadership positions at some of the nation’s premier private colleges as well as large public universities. Washington earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dakota Wesleyan University and his Master of Arts from California State-Hayward.

“The Dean of Enrollment Management is a key position at the University as students are the lifeblood of our community. Our search for a new Dean focused on finding an individual who could build on Villanova’s momentum of enrolling the very talented, well-rounded students we see here year after year,” said Villanova University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD. “I am confident that this legacy will continue and proliferate with LeonWashington at the helm.”

As Dean of Enrollment Management, Washington will oversee the Offices of University Admission, Financial Aid, University Outreach and the Registrar. His principal areas of responsibility will include monitoring student enrollment, retention, merit scholarships and need-based financial aid trends. 

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit