Backlund to Retire from Sewanee Admissions

The University of the South has announced that Dean of Admission Lee Ann Backlund will retire from her position at the end of this academic year.

Backlund first served in Sewanee’s Admission Office from 1981 to 2001, followed by a stint as a college counselor at Porter-Gaud School (Charleston, SC) and several years as dean of admission at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. She returned to Sewanee as dean of admission and financial aid in 2010 and was named vice president for enrollment planning in 2014.

During her service to the university, Backlund oversaw and managed unprecedented growth in applications; undergraduate enrollment has grown from 1,463 students in 2010 to 1,725 this year. She and her team demonstrated and embraced innovation in their work—never more so than during the past 10 months. Backlund says she is most proud, however, of two things: her current and former colleagues who have successful careers and leadership positions in admissions, and the many classes of Sewanee students who have grown to be agents of change in the world.

Backlund is a national leader in college admissions. She is the past chair of and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of Common App, a not-for-profit organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. She is also past president of SACAC, the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling. In Sewanee, her service to the community includes as a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School.

“Lee Ann has spent her 40-year career helping young people find the right fit for their college experience and individual development,” said Reuben Brigety, Sewanee’s vice-chancellor and president. “I am grateful for her high standards, her innovative thinking, and the unfailing dedication to student success that she brought to her position.” The university will begin a national search for Backlund’s successor.