By Jake Bradner, The Whetstone
Wesley College’s new vice president of enrollment management originally wanted to be a baseball player.
Born and raised in New Jersey, after high school, Christopher Dearth went to college at Rider University to play Division I baseball.
Dearth soon realized, however, that it was impossible for him to become a pro baseball player.
“I kind of realized that the percentages weren’t really in your favor,” he said. “I didn’t have the talent to get there. So as I was in college, I realized that I needed to prepare myself for a career.”
Dearth transferred to Stockton University for Business with a concentration in Marketing.
After working in admissions there, Dearth liked working with students to help them earn a college degree.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1997 and, five years later, he returned to college and got a master’s degree in Leadership at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
His first job was director of admissions at the State University of New York in Fredonia. He also worked as admissions director at Eastern Illinois University before coming to Wesley.
Although he’s only been here this semester, Dearth said he is enjoying his stay at Wesley and likes the small environment of the college.
“Most of the places I have worked have been larger than Wesley, which doesn’t allow for personal interactions,” he said. “The ability to get to know students and witness their growth is the reason I chose Wesley.”
Associate professor of psychology and member of the search committee, Dr. Angela D’Antonio, praised Dearth.
“I was impressed by his experience and knowledge,” she said. “I was also very impressed by his openness and the way he’s able to work with people in the college.”
She said she also was quite fond of some of his ideas to fix enrollment.
“He’s building on what Wesley is starting to do well,” D’Antonio said. “He has a plan to start early and recruit juniors from high school who are motivated and prepared for college and interested in what Wesley has to offer.”
Dearth said he wants to fix all of the problems with enrollment with which the college is faced. Dearth also said, however, he thinks many of the problems with enrollment are more minor than they are major.
“The one major thing we’re trying to work on is trying to build awareness of Wesley,” Dearth said.
Some students on campus want people who put academics first before sports.
“I’d want a student athlete who takes more an active duty in school work than just sports,” Freshman Miles Watson said. “Sports are going to come, but education first.”
Other students want someone who respects the people they interact with and their environment.
“Look at all the trash that’s left on the floor of the student lounge,” Sophomore Brian Pantaleon said. “You got to respect the place you’re studying and earning your degree from.”
As a way to build that awareness, Dearth plans to visit local and regional high schools in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
“I think Wesley is a very good institution, and I think being liberal arts-focused and having that small student atmosphere, and I think more people need to know about us.”