The best students

Milton Academy dean to head undergraduate admissions

Lee Coffin, the dean of admission and financial aid at Milton Academy, has been appointed Tufts' new dean of undergraduate admissions and enrollment management. He starts his new job on October 1.

Coffin, 40, succeeds David D. Cuttino, who held the job for 17 years before retiring in June.

Lee Coffin

"Lee is a terrific person to build on David Cuttino's record of accomplishment," Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow said. "He understands how to compete for the very best students with the very best institutions in the country. He will bring great energy and enthusiasm to admissions at Tufts."

Tufts' undergraduate admissions' selectivity for its arts, sciences and engineering programs is at a record high: A little more than one-fourth of the 14,527 applicants for 1,280 openings in the Class of 2007 were offered admission.

Susan Ernst, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said she anticipates Coffin will bring a strategic focus to attracting outstanding undergraduates because he understands the admissions and financial aid processes from both sides. "During the past couple years, he's led Milton Academy's most selective high school review processówith a 20 percent acceptance rate," she said. "He knows what extraordinary high school students are looking for when they begin the college application process, and he also knows what top colleges and universities are seeking for their incoming freshmen classes."

Ernst noted that Coffin also has a particularly keen interest in creating financial aid programs to attract the best students, regardless of financial need. Establishing a need-blind admissions policy is one of the recommendations of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience, a group Bacow appointed to look into ways to enhance undergraduate life at Tufts.

Coffin said he's looking forward to the challenge of increasing Tufts' student selectivity even more. "I've watched Tufts become one of the country's most selective, internationally focused universities, and I'm looking forward to making sure that Tufts is even better positioned to attract the most interesting, engaged community of bright, capable students."

Prior to Milton Academy, Coffin spent more than a decade at Connecticut College, where he served as dean of admissions for six years before being promoted to vice president for enrollment. He also served as freshman proctor and advisor at Harvard and as assistant director of annual giving and alumni and undergraduate relations at Trinity College. He holds a master's degree in education from Harvard and a bachelor's degree with honors in history and American government from Trinity College.

Coffin's appointment comes after a national search to fill the post. Members of the search advisory committee were Jeff Berry, professor of political science; Jayanthi Mistry, associate professor of child development; Wayne Bouchard, executive associate dean for Arts and Sciences; Yves-Rose SaintDic, director of affirmative action; and engineering student Olga Vayena.