MBU Bids Fond Farewell to Former Enrollment Chief Jim McCoy

When James “Jim” McCoy came to Mary Baldwin University in summer 2017, it was meant to be for just three months. He ended up staying for four years.

“When I first started at MBU with Jim, one of the first things he told me was ‘the work here will be hard, but I guarantee that we will have fun doing it,’” said Matthew Munsey, current vice president of enrollment management, who McCoy recruited to join the university that first summer as director of admissions. “Jim’s lively personality, knowledge, and ability to collaborate had an instant impact that inspired me to connect and dive into the necessary work.”

Former Vice President of Enrollment Jim McCoy helped achieve a remarkably successful recruitment strategy that re-envisioned MBU as a student-centered, co-ed university.

During his tenure, McCoy helped achieve a remarkably successful recruitment marketing strategy that re-envisioned MBU as a student-centered, co-ed university. 

President Pamela Fox, who reached out to McCoy about joining the Mary Baldwin family four years ago, shares her words of appreciation for his legacy:

“When Jim and I collaborated for the first time, now more than 30 years ago at Miami University, I can still recall the palpable energy and optimism we shared in working to recruit students. We lost touch for quite awhile, and then in 2017, a significant voice kept telling me to reach out to Jim — who was nearby in Lexington. He came up to visit and the energy and chemistry in our shared approach to opportunity and innovation sparked again. 

I cannot credit or thank Jim enough for what he has done for Mary Baldwin and for our students and community. Our enrollment turnaround, our transition to co-ed residential, our expansion of online and graduate programs — all have been fueled by Jim’s wisdom and practical approach to solving problems one at a time.  

Jim has been my steady partner, mentor to so many, always jovial and bringing out the best in all. His spirit has truly sustained us over this key period of innovation. I am glad he has a new opportunity — for he thrives on them — but we shall miss his bright spirit, and the lovely support of his wife, Jane, even as we keep with us the lessons and strength he conveyed to us. It’s a remarkable legacy. We love you, Jim.”

“Jim has been my steady partner, mentor to so many, always jovial and bringing out the best in all.”

President Pamela Fox

McCoy recently announced that he has accepted the position of vice president of enrollment at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, closer to his current home in Asheville where he has been working remotely for the past year as MBU vice president emeritus for administration. His last day at the university will be June 30. 

Mary Baldwin is blessed with having a tremendous group of people that manage the school and also teach at the school,” McCoy said. “So the people are the major thing that I’ll miss. The executive staff are a great group of people to work with, and of course working under Dr. Fox is a joy. We’ve known each other for a long time, and she’s just been so supportive of me.” 

Before McCoy arrived, the university — like many other small private schools — was facing a significant decline in enrollment after an especially difficult recruitment cycle in 2016–17.

Under McCoy’s leadership as the new vice president of enrollment, the admissions team worked to help turn things around for 2017–18. They delivered the MBU message to more students through a streamlined application process, increased personal outreach, and new academic scholarship opportunities. 

Collaboration across the university also resulted in revamped admissions materials, physical spaces on campus, and visit experiences. 

“I’m most proud that we were able to rally the community in the new university model, and then we were successful in outreach and messaging to lots of people and building the system,” he said. “Everybody worked together; there was a commonality of effort, and it paid off.”

These efforts helped yield the two largest classes in university history in fall 2018 and 2019 in what has come to be known as “the Mary Baldwin miracle.”

“Jim’s mentorship is something that I will always value both personally and professionally,” said Munsey. “My daily conversations with him — from day one — gave me great insight into how to be a better professional and work through difficult problems. After those conversations, he’d always follow up to see the progress made and offer additional insights. His experience combined with his passion for helping others gave me a level of mentorship that few experience in their professional careers. I’m incredibly grateful for his support along this journey.”

During his 48 years in higher education, McCoy has served institutions such as the University of New Haven, Louisiana State University, Xavier University, Miami University, and Pennsylvania State University.

“I want people to know that I enjoyed every single day at Mary Baldwin,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. We got a lot of things accomplished, hit a lot of goals, and it was just good to be a positive influence and know that you were reasonably successful at what you were trying to do. I have no regrets whatsoever. And if we hadn’t moved to North Carolina, I’d probably still be there.”

“I want people to know that I enjoyed every single day at Mary Baldwin.”

Jim McCoy, former vice president of enrollment