Dattagupta replaces Retif as VP of enrollment management

Alexa Christianson, Associate News Editor

Tulane undergraduate admissions will be under fresh guidance on June 15 as Satyajit Dattagupta assumes his position as Tulane University’s vice president of enrollment management, succeeding Earl Retif.

Dattagupta’s academic background is in computer science and he currently holds the position of vice president of enrollment management at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. His specific interest in increasing the economic and racial diversity of Tulane’s incoming students echo recent discussions of a new direction for undergraduate admissions at Tulane.

“He is passionate, supportive, thoughtful and creative,” said Bradly Booke, who worked with Dattagupta at Washington College. “I have no doubt he will be successful and do great things at Tulane.”

President Michael Fitts, who made the ultimate decision to hire Dattagupta, has no doubts about his choice. Dattagupta came recommended from a selection committee which consisted of deans, students, board members and faculty.

“Everybody was very excited about [Dattagupta],” Fitts said. “He’s a young rock star in admissions. Everybody who’s ever worked with him has come away hugely impressed. He cares deeply about higher education and he fell in love with Tulane as part of the process [of applying for the job].”

Dattagupta was attracted to the position because he felt Tulane’s vision for undergraduate admissions aligned well with his own interests in promoting higher education.

“For me, it was really exciting that Tulane had this vision of recruiting and retaining some of the best students in this country who come from diverse backgrounds both domestically and internationally,” Dattagupta said. “It lined up well with what my aspirations and goals are, and who I am as a person.”

In Dattagupta’s time at Washington College, he has been responsible for increased applications, selectivity, enrollment and retention in recent years.

In his second admissions season at Washington College, Dattagupta recruited one of the most academically competitive and diverse classes the university has seen. He and his team matriculated 407 first-year students for the class of 2019, including almost 100 students of color and 136 Presidential Fellows. More than 60 percent of those students came from outside Maryland and the average grade-point average rose to 3.7.

Dattagupta is eager to put his skills to work at Tulane, where university administration has made it clear that recruiting new classes will place more emphasis on promoting diversity.

“Improving both the economic diversity and racial diversity at Tulane is a high priority,” Fitts said.

Originally from Mumbai, India, Dattagupta has a strong belief in attracting students from a wide variety of geographic locations and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“I’m very passionate about making private higher education available to students who are academically well-prepared, even if they come from a background where they don’t have the means to [gain] an education like that,” said Dattagupta.

Before any concrete plans of action can take place, Dattagupta is dedicated to learning all he can about Tulane and New Orleans so he can best benefit both communities.

“I’m looking forward to studying the trend Tulane has seen and bringing in new ideas, but before that I want to learn the place and the institution and the team,” Dattagupta said.

Retif, who was in Tulane’s enrollment management and admissions for more than 40 years, will welcome in the class of 2020 at convocation this fall. Dattagupta’s first recruited class will arrive on campus in the fall of 2017, and he looks forward to the effect a Tulane education will have on them.

“Tulane really is a national and global brand,” Dattagupta said. “I believe in the power of higher education and that a college education can truly transform your life.”