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East Central University recently named a Vice President for Enrollment Management, a new role to ECU.

Dr. Denver Stickrod will serve as the chief strategic enrollment officer for the University.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Stickrod join our leadership team at ECU,” President Wendell Godwin said. “He will bring an energy to campus that will increase student enrollment and lead the University with our newly implemented technology.”

Stickrod is set to take the reins of ECU’s recruitment and admissions in June.

 “I think ECU has some great things on the horizon and I’m super excited to be a part of it,” Stickrod said. “It’s no secret enrollment has been a challenge for many schools. I’m up to the task and I look forward to it.”

Stickrod brings 20 years of experience in admissions and recruitment with higher education with him to ECU.

“I like to try new things and make the process of admissions exciting for our students,” Stickrod said. “I think it’s very important to prospective students when they are considering a college.

“It’s amazing to work in higher education with students and people and to truly make an impact on their lives,” Stickrod said. “It’s wonderful to see the evolution of a student as they go through college. It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding work.”

Stickrod is a first-generation student and connects with students who may come from similar backgrounds. He said getting students admitted isn’t just about getting them to the college, it’s about encouraging them and telling them “You can do this.”

“Education can transform their lives for the better,” he said. “To let them know they can do this – something many may have never heard before – and seeing them rise to the challenge…that’s amazing.

“College wasn’t really in my future and I was very fortunate I had parents who said, ‘You’re going to college,’” he said. “To look back to that moment and realize how much my life has been elevated because of a college education, that’s why I’m passionate about it and excited. I really enjoy the work.”

Stickrod earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Illinois State University and then his doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While obtaining his degrees, he worked at those institutions, boosting enrollment and recruitment efforts.

After 10 years in Florida, where he met his wife, they moved to New York.

For the past five years, Stickrod has worked at two community colleges – Herkimer County Community College and Tomkins Cortland Community Colleges, where he took leadership of the admissions and enrollment processes.

After working at Herkimer and Tompkins Cortland, Stickrod said his career and interests were starting to realign more with a four-year university.

“That’s where I started and I wanted to get back into that sector and I saw the job at ECU,” he said.

While moving from New York to Ada, Oklahoma, may sound like a huge change, Stickrod is confident his family will feel right at home.

“I grew up in a rural community and I think the small-town feel is something I have always cherished,” Stickrod said of his childhood in Monticello, Illinois, a town with a population of about 6,000 people.

The community colleges he has worked for are in upstate New York, he said, far removed from the hustle and bustle of New York City.

 “Ada is actually bigger than the places we have been living,” Stickrod said. “I was out there for a couple days and it felt like home to me.”

During his visit to ECU, Stickrod said he really felt a connection with the University and its employees.

“It felt right,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with colleagues to get enrollment where it needs to be. Go Tigers!”

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