Courtesy of Ben Jones
Ben Jones, OC ’96, has been appointed the College’s first assistant vice president of admissions communications, starting next fall. Jones has served as Oberlin’s vice president for communications, and this past year he was instrumental in sorting out the challenges that COVID-19 posed to student recruitment. After 13 years heading the Office of Communications, Jones is excited to play a greater part in bringing the Oberlin experience to a new generation.
The appointment was announced in a Jan. 29 email from President Carmen Twillie Ambar.
“Out of the pandemic, we had to really rethink our admissions recruitment efforts and our marketing of the institution — particularly around our academic programs and the key ways that our students are drawn to Oberlin,” President Ambar said in an interview with the Review. “We’re really excited about [Jones’ appointment] because you typically wouldn’t have that level of seasoned professional — who knows Oberlin and understands Oberlin and has done other work for Oberlin — ready and poised to do that role.”
For over a decade, Jones has overseen the design of the College’s website, social media, editorial services, and more. Last spring, he facilitated Oberlin’s sudden shift to remote recruitment. Jones poured much of his time into restructuring and developing online programming for prospective students.
“When the pandemic hit and we realized quickly that an in-person All Roads Lead to Oberlin would not be possible, we had to coordinate a campus-wide effort to recreate All Roads in a virtual space, on very short notice,” Jones wrote in an email to the Review. “This was a true community effort that went well beyond Admissions and Communications — faculty, staff, and students across campus were enthusiastic partners throughout that adventure. It was a moment in which Oberlin shone incredibly brightly.”
In spite of many challenges, the College brought together an impressive class of new first-year students. Jones wants to sustain these new recruitment strategies moving forward, even when in-person offerings can be fully resumed. He and President Ambar believe that this enhanced outreach will be essential to the College’s success.
In his new position, Jones will collaborate with Vice President and Dean of Admissions Manuel Carballo, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Kamitsuka, and Dean of the Conservatory William Quillen. As an Oberlin graduate, Jones is especially excited to engage young adults with what the school has to offer.
“My education here has had a profound impact on my life that continues to this day,” Jones wrote. “I guess what means the most to me about working here is simply the ability to be able to make a career out of serving a place that I love so much and help others find their way to this incredibly special place.”