Of course, I rarely write much in this blog that could plug any other schools, and am usually especially hesistant to praise UVA (which we consider our Southern Campus), but I got word last week that their Dean, one of the best admissions officers in the profession, John “Jack” Blackburn, is retiring next year.
Jack is everything I think an admissions officer should be – always putting principles first, and putting students ahead of everything else in those principles. This is no small challenge when handling admissions for an institution with as much tradition as UVA. I have seen him answer questions, some posed with obvious hostility, with amazing professionalism and a calm manner I would best describe as graceful. Best of all, I’ve never seen him duck the tough questions, but instead he offers straightforward, honest, and data driven responses.
He also has been a great asset to the profession, conducting research and leading national discussions in an attempt to make the process more transparent. He sets a great example for the rest of us, and I know we all wish him well. If you want to get an idea of what a real dean sounds like, check out his recent podcast. Good sailing, Jack, be seeing you.